To sift, or not to sift, that’s the question when it comes to dry ingredients.
You may notice that some of the recipes submitted for The Original Tehachapi Apple Book call for sifting dry ingredients, and others do not. Recipes are often passed along from one cook to another and details of preparation may vary. Some bakers may simply assume that people will know that it’s a good idea to sift dry ingredients.
It makes sense that if you are combining dry ingredients — flour, baking powder or baking soda, cocoa, and spices, for instance — the active and flavoring ingredients will likely perform better if they are evenly distributed.
When I began baking the recipes in the cookbook, I decided to do my best for Tehachapi apples by baking better than ever. I bought a sifter and I use it when recipes call for sifting. Previously, I did give the dry ingredients a good stirring with a fork, but I wanted the best possible results from the contributed recipes, so I decided to step up my baking game.
Since I started using the sifter I have noticed that there are sometimes tiny clumps of salt or baking soda left in the bottom of the sifter after I have processed my mixture. I have used a spoon to force the clumps to break up and go through the sieve. This has made me realize that sifting is probably a really good idea and it takes just a few more minutes to help the recipe achieve the desired results.
So, for me, sifting is becoming a new “best practice” for baking.