A Baking Miniseries, Day One: To Sift or Not to Sift
It's October, so the average American lady is happily drowning in cupcake liners and canned pumpkin, including me. So this week, we're doing a little baking miniseries to make you more of a genius in your kitchen this fall.
First up? Flour.
"Kendra, do I really have to sift flour? It seems like so much work! Is it even worth it?"
You've worked hard to make a cookie or a cake. You might even be one of those crazy people who eats desserts only on certain days, so this indulgence has to COUNT. Then - oh, the horror - one of your six bites has a flour turd in it, that little ball of unmixed baked-in flour that explodes in your mouth like an angry mothball. Don't let the flour turds win.
There are two basic sifting methods, and I promise that they're easy and worth it.
1. A sifter + paper.
A sifter can be one of those grandma types with a crank, or you can use a mesh strainer you use to rinse vegetables. And don't sift the flour into a separate bowl that you have to wash. No, my friend. You sift out those flour turds onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper; a paper towel will even work if you're desperate. And don't wash your sifter either, at least not every time. You're just using flour, so knocking it a few times over the sink is cleaning enough. When it's time for a scrub (after sifting cocoa powder for example), dunk it in soapy water, slosh it around, and rinse.
2. A whisk.
If you're not allergic to washing an extra dish, you're probably already combining your dry ingredients in that separate bowl. Before you add the dry mixture to your recipe, grab a whisk with the most spokes (whiskers?), and break up as many flour turds as you can. Don't go looking for them or anything; just thoroughly whisk, and you're all set.
Biggest turd culprits: all-purpose flour (especially straight out of the bag), baking soda, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. If you don't want to sift every time, at least do it when these ingredients are in the mix.
But I promise that sifting is that one simple step that will save you so much in emotional equity. And without getting into the science (because ew), baking depends on the exactness of its ingredients. Sifting combines them beyond being able to tell them apart (like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens and Lucy Hale and every other 20-something with long brown hair).
So pick your turd poison - a sifter and paper or a whisk in a bowl. You're not really adding extra work, but you are adding extra joy hashtag turdless cookies.
See you tomorrow for day two of our baking miniseries!