No I'm no kidding...today's topic is all about Sifter.
Here is a definition from Wikipedia " sifter, is a device for separating wanted elements from unwanted material or for characterizing the particle size distribution of a sample, typically using a woven screen such as a mesh or net. The word "sift" derives from "sieve". In cooking, a sifter is used to separate and break up clumps in dry ingredients such as flour, as well as to aerate and combine them."
But for us cake decorators it is much important than what you think. With cake, you want enough gluten to provide structure so that the cake rises, but not enough structure to impede chewing at all. if you can spread the flour out before you mix it into the water and fat, you let the fat get in-between a lot of the flour before the water mixes with it. The more fat that coats the flour the less water can get in (after all, oil and water don't mix, and that goes for other fats just as well), and the less water that meets the flour, the less gluten you have.
A sifter spreads out flour admirably. If you put flour through a sifter, you can virtually see in-between every particle of flour as it falls out of the sifter. It's fantastic. What the sifter doesn't do well is mix ingredients.
You want to mix the dry ingredients well because the the dry ingredients will generally be structural, provide flavor, or provide lift. If you have clumps of undistributed flavor or leavener hidden in caches around your cake, then someone will have an unhappy surprise when they bite into it.
With a sifter, you have a mechanism on one end that spreads out the powder as it drops it. When you add ingredients, you tend to do a scoop here and a scoop there, so having something at one end spreading out nearby powders will only mix ingredients that are already pretty well blended.
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