Thursday, July 26, 2018


I have discussed briefly in posts before tips when working with flour. I am sure you have noticed before in recipes that sometimes in the ingredients list, it will read ...flour, sifted or ...sifted flour. You might think it really doesn't matter. Well, I am here to tell you it does make a difference.

The key is the location of the word sifted. If it is after the amount and before the word flour, you should sift some flour and then measure for the amount called for in the recipe from the sifted pile. If the word is after the word flour, it means to measure the designated amount and then sift it before adding to the mixture. To prove my point, I experimented one day to just see.

What I did was I measured the amount of flour the recipe called for (2 cups) the way I usually do...lightly spooning (actually I use a small scoop that comes in a drink mixture) the flour into the measuring cup and sifted it. 

Then I remeasured two cups from this sifted flour...

I was surprised at how much I had left in the bowl.

I decided to measure it to see just how much that actually was...

It was almost 1/4 cup of extra flour I would have been putting in the recipe. That's enough to possibly make a difference in the outcome of the recipe.

If a recipe doesn't say to sift the dry ingredients, I will put them all in a bowl and at least mix them with a whisk to make sure the salt, baking powder, and /or baking soda is better distributed in the mixture. 

If a recipe says to sift the dry ingredients together and I don't combine them together in a bowl first, I will sift them twice to better distribute the ingredients.

It is also important that you don't scoop/measure the flour by scooping the measuring cup into the bag or container of flour as packing the flour gives you more flour. Keep reading...

I enjoy Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen Mysteries and the recipes that are included in the books. One time I read a recipe that said to lightly spoon the flour in the measuring cup. I was so surprised because she always says to pack the flour down in the measuring cup. Since I never do that, I always remeasure the flour afterwards to see what it would be measuring it lightly. I recently made some Strawberries Muffins in which the recipe called for 2 cups of flour packed down. When I remeasured it, I had 2-2/3 cups of flour. That's quite a bit more. I shared the recipe indicating the latter measurement instead of what she had in the book.

One other tip I wanted to share with you was a substitution I used recently in a recipe that called for cake flour. I had some but not evenly lose to the amount I needed for the recipe. I pulled out my Better Homes & Gardens checkerboard cookbook for emergency substitutions and substituted all-purpose flour for the cake flour. The cake tasted delicious!

The recipe called for 3 cups of cake flour. To substitute all-purpose flour - 1 cup of cake flour is equal to 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons removed. 

Doing a little math - I would be removing 6 tablespoons from the 3 cups of all-purpose flour I measured (2 x 3 = 6). Six tablespoons is 3/8 cup. I don't know about you, but I don't have a measuring cup that measures 3/8 cup, but I do have one that measures 1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons. So to make it a little bit easier, I measured 2-3/4 (3 cups - 1/4 cup) and then simply removed 2 tablespoons.

I can measure 2 cups at a time in my measuring "cup" so after I measured the 2 cups, I set it for 3/4 cup and then filled it up.

Then I lightly filled my tablespoon (don't dip it in the flour and measure it) to remove a tablespoon...

and then the second tablespoon...

The amount of all-purpose flour to substitute for the amount of cake flour is in the red bowl...the removed 2 tablespoons in the other bowl.

I hope these tips will help you when you are making your next recipe using flour. It will make a difference.

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