There is no need to sift flour unless a recipe specifically instructs you to, say Chowhounds with professional baking experience. Scoop the flour, level it off, and pour it into the bowl, says todao, who adds that you should whisk or otherwise stir the flour and other dry ingredients together before combining them with wet ingredients. “Sifting flour, when the recipe calls for it, helps adjust for the compaction that the flour has experienced during processing and shipping. A recipe that doesn’t include sifting instructions has usually taken that into account in specifying the amount of flour to be used,” says todao.

If a recipe calls for “sifted flour,” the flour is sifted before measuring. On the other hand if the recipe calls for a cup of flour sifted, measure and then sift.

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