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I have an inexpensive flour sifter that just has wire mesh and a little hand-crank (like one of these 1, 2.)

It has cup markings on the side ("one cup," "two cups").

This is probably a silly question, but why? Doesn't the flour just start pouring through the wire mesh as soon as you start adding it, thereby making the markings useless?

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1 Answer 1

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Only a tiny amount of flour will fall through the grating before you start actively sifting; there is a reason there is an agitator and crank to help force the flour through. I am sure the idea was that you could use the sifter as a measuring cup.

Of course, since most sifters are opaque and the markings are on the outside, it is difficult to get a good measurement.

In practice, these markings are essentially useless, and you are far better off using a proper measuring cup, or even better, a scale.

Personally, I am of the opinion that sifters are hard to clean, not useful for anything else, and in general a pain. I use a simple sieve when I need to sift.

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In fairness, the cup markings for the two sifters in the links in the original question do show on the inside, even though the body of the sifter is opaque. Those circumferential bulges show on both the inside and the outside. –  Pete Becker Nov 17 '13 at 15:27

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