Why Sift Flour, and Do You Really Need To?

Why sift flour, and do you really need to? Every homemaker assumes that sifted flour guarantees fluffy sponge cakes. Is this the case? As it turns out, this procedure is might not be necessary. Shocking, isn’t it? Let’s take a closer look at what this everyday product has been withholding from us.

Flour obtained in the manner of grinding grain contains a certain amount of waste — chaff. In the past, people sifted the flour through a sieve to ensure it’s clean, but today this is a regulated process carried out on an industrial scale. However, the majority of us still pass flour through a sieve when cooking, just like our mothers and grannies.

© DepositPhotos

Why Sift Flour?

To properly understand the process of sifting flour, let us talk about a traditional English cake, which appeared in America in the 1870s — the Angel cake. The recipe for this dessert calls for gradually adding flour into the dough by passing it through a sieve to get rid of lumps that arose due to improper storage, for instance. That allows the product to mix with other ingredients evenly.

© DepositPhotos

In truth, the necessity of sifting the flour through a sieve is a culinary myth, created to present the recipe as home-made. It is mainly a ruse and a marketing move due to which the store shelves now offer a wide selection of accessories for sifting flour.

When to Sift Flour?

There is a list of specific cases when sifting flour is necessary to improve the recipe for your dish.

  1. Sift flour if you produce it yourself — it is necessary to separate the flour from the chaff.
  2. If you have stored flour for a long time, pass it through a sieve to get rid of lumps.
  3. Sift flour if you need to prepare a surface for rolling the dough. © DepositPhotos
  4. If you need to add a little flour to a semi-finished dough, sift it to prevent the appearance of lumps.
  5. Sift the product if you are making a mound of flour for cooking egg paste.
  6. If the recipe calls for other dry ingredients besides flour, and they need to be added together, use a sieve to sift them. © DepositPhotos


It is recommended to sift powder products such as almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, and baking soda. More often than not, these products form lumps after contact with air, affecting the taste of the cooked dish.

Now that you know it is unnecessary, you won’t have to reach for the sieve every time you’re preparing a new culinary masterpiece. We hope that we have dispelled this established culinary myth and helped you save time spent in the kitchen.

Featured Image: © DepositPhotos


I am an English major with a love of languages and fiction, and with an incurable travel bug. In my free time, I read fantasy, drink copious amounts of coffee, and like to go see movies. Culinary art means everything to me. My main hypostasis is the taster, though. The music school has taught me to appreciate the symphony of airy meringues, to create harmonious overtures of light snacks, hard rock of meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill. Choir classes have accustomed me to hear and feel the people nearby and create perfect harmonies of sounds.

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