How To Properly Clean A Flour Sifter

In decades past, flour sifters were an absolute necessity because flour needed to be filtered for anything that had gotten in there that wasn't flour. While today's flour has already been sifted before it hits store shelves, a sifter is still handy to have. You may not be sifting out seeds and bugs like home bakers a century ago, but sifting helps break up clumps and shakes flour out so it's not densely packed, both of which can lead to incorrect measurements and throw off recipes.

Sifters are especially convenient for clumpier flours, like almond flours, and work to aerate cocoa powder and powdered sugar too. Mixing, de-clumping, and fluffing up your flour or sugar is such a key part of baking that you'll need to consider alternative methods and tools if you don't have a sifter. If you do have a sifter, though, it's crucial to keep it clean in order for it to function as it should.

To properly clean your flour sifter, let it soak it in warm water with soap. This bath of sorts starts to loosen anything that's been stuck in or on the sifter. Then, you want to really get into the nooks and crannies of the sifter, and a toothbrush is great for this. First, attack where any flour lumps are building up, then give the entire sifter a good scrub. Finally, rinse the soapy water off of the sifter and then immediately towel-dry it to avoid any rusting.

Why cleaning your sifter is necessary

Getting in a good, thorough clean beyond just a rinse-off is a must in order for your sifter to do its job. Its entire purpose is compromised when any tiny bit of its sifting mechanism or mesh gets clogged with caked-on flour or other ingredients. Flours and powders need to be able to move through that sifter and its mesh without obstruction to be properly aerated and separated. If you don't keep your sifter clean, you'll end up with lumpy flour as if you didn't sift it at all.

If your sifter is out of commission, you can turn to one of your other essential home baking tools and use a whisk or colander. A flour sifter will really change your baking game with its simple efficiency, though, and such a effective tool is worth taking care of. After all, from coffee cake with almond flour to cookies with cocoa powder, there are so many recipes out there that a sifter will enhance. You can even prolong the amount of time until you really need to clean your sifter by storing it in a plastic bag between uses. This will help your sifter last even longer because, while necessary, all of that washing can indeed lead to rust. So, keep sifters clean for as long as possible, wash thoroughly when needed, and get them dry as quickly as possible — you can even use a hair dryer.