Why do I need to sift flour when baking?

I was always skeptical about sifting and did not have a sifter for decades. Then I got a bread machine. I couldn’t figure out why my loaves didn’t rise or why they turned out like bricks. Sifting is the key! Don’t let people fool you.

flour remaining in sifting bowl after removing 4 1/4 cups for recipe
sift! flour remaining in sifting bowl after removing 4 1/4 cups for recipe
sift! Nearly 1 1/2 cups of sifted flour that did not go into my bread recipe
sift! Nearly 1 1/2 cups of sifted flour that did not go into my bread recipe

My extensive research finally yielded a clue. I had been using a measuring up to scoop the flour out of the bag or canister, leveling it, then adding it to the dough. I finally found a sifter I liked after much trial and error.

Here’s today’s outcome. I added four cups of flour to my sifter, using a slotted spoon so as not to compact it. I then sifted and added 4 1/4 cups flour to my dough.

Look what’s left over! Close to 1 1/2 cups of sifted flour! This tells me that I was adding AT LEAST 2 cups of extra flour to each recipe of bread dough.

The dough is in the breadmaker. I’ll know the outcome in 3 1/2 hours.

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