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Sifting Flour - Is it Necessary? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature

You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
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Sifting Flour - Is it Necessary?

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  • Sifting Flour - Is it Necessary?

    Of late I have been sifting flour for both pizza and bread and I have noticed a distinct lighter texture than without sifting.

    The bread particulalry is really nice sifted though pizza may well be good without it if a heavier texture is desired.

    Any comments on this topic from the experts?
    / Rossco

  • #2
    Re: Sifting Flour - Is it Necessary?

    I only sift flour under three conditions:

    1. making a cake
    2. making pie crust (pate)
    3. really high humidity that has caused the flour to clump.

    All other times... scoop and scrape (even though "the experts" seem to be against scooping and preaching 'spoon and scrape' these days).

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    • #3
      Re: Sifting Flour - Is it Necessary?

      I sift all my AP flour, mostly because I keep it in the dedicated sifter bin in my Hoosier Cabinet.



      I don't know if it makes any difference. It never gets clogged with lumps or anything.

      I don't sift my Caputo. I weigh it out in 500g bags and store it in a sealed container.
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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      • #4
        Re: Sifting Flour - Is it Necessary?

        I guess a better approach would be to understand the actual purpose of sifting flour - then see if it applies to bread and pizza baking.

        Some thoughts here to start with: The Purpose of Sifting - FineCooking.com
        / Rossco

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        • #5
          Re: Sifting Flour - Is it Necessary?

          I don't think sifting has any significance to bread. Its main purpose is to remove lumps for things that are only lightly mixed and kneaded and to give a relatively consistent density for those who measure by volume as I understand it. (Well, to remove bugs and rocks too!) It is hard to envision it making any difference if you thoroughly mix the dough for the mechanical working and slipping of particles past each other as the dough is worked would seem likely to close the difference. Not saying it can't make a difference, more that it seems unlikely to me. Perception is an important factor in this. If you expect it to make a difference you will likely perceive it. And if not, not...

          My $.02!
          Jay

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          • #6
            Re: Sifting Flour - Is it Necessary?

            Many years ago I sifted religiously, but I gave it up when I got my first reasonably accurate scale. Now I never sift. Whenever possible I work by weight, stir thoroughly with the other dry ingredients, and then on with the recipe. If I am working from a new recipe that does not provide weights, then I weigh everything as I go and use the weights if I use the recipe again.

            I think sifting was basically an attempt at getting consistent results from one bake day to the next.

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            • #7
              Re: Sifting Flour - Is it Necessary?

              for bread, if you're volume measuring vs. scaling your ingredients, sifting would definitely produce a lighter loaf, yes.
              I always thought sifting was a holdover from back in the day when weevils were more of a problem. Not that I have had a dose or two of weevils from crappy grocery store flour, but I think back in the day, it was presumed that flour would have bugs in it.
              I only ever sift for cakes, and even then it depends on the type of cake. Whisking up the flour in the storage container is a quick and easy way to avoid sifiting but still get some of the lightening effect.

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              • #8
                Re: Sifting Flour - Is it Necessary?

                I made a couple of loaves of pan cubano last week, and the recipe called for sifting... they turned out very well.. very light.

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