Macarons have a smooth outer shell that are chewy and melt in your mouth when you bite into them.
Almond flour is a clumpy flour that needs to be sifted in order to create a smooth macaron batter.
The best almond flour sifter to use for macarons is the ExcelSteel Heavy Mesh Colander.
- Medium sized mesh – sifts almond flour fast (see video below)
- Sift enough almond flour in less than a minute for 1 batch of macarons
- Creates velvety smooth macaron shells
See video below.
Sifting with a heavy mesh colander will make it a lot easier to break up the clumps of almond flour.
Otherwise, you’ll spend hours sifting almond flour just to make a couple of batches of macarons.
Your hands will get tired and frustrated because you won’t be able to get all of your almond flour sifted.
When you don’t sift your almond flour for your macarons, the shell will be lumpy and will not turn out.
When baking macarons, the almond flour is crumbly and clumpy.
If your almond flour is too clumpy, you can blend it in a food processor for a couple of minutes until it’s a bit finer of a grind. This will make it much faster to sift the almond flour.
Be sure to sift the almond flour again when you go to make macarons, just in case they clump up again by the time you use them.
You can also sift your icing sugar with the same sifter.
Icing sugar clumps up into balls of icing sugar. You want your icing sugar to be like powder, aerated, and feel like dust when you mix your macaron batter together.
The ExcelSteel Heavy Mesh Colander is built keeping in mind best practices for ergonomics. If you’re someone who bakes a lot of macarons, this is the sifter you’ll want to save your hands.
- Handles on both sides – easy to hold steady while sifting
- Ergonomically friendly
- Made so it can rest on the top of a bowl
- Stainless steel – strong, resists wear and tear, dishwasher safe
Are there other reasons to use a sifter
A sifter increases the surface area available for mixing to the liquid ingredients. This means the ingredients will be more evenly spread throughout the mixing process, creating a balance of flavors and textures.
What is a sifter used for
A sifter is a kitchen accessory that usually has a handle and metal basket. The basket has metal criss crosses creating a bowl shape that allows small pieces of food to pass through.
This breaks up chunks of food into tiny pieces.
The process of sifting adds air and lightens the food (flour, icing sugar).
This is especially important when making a cake. This allows the cake to cook with small air bubbles throughout the cake. The cake has a bouncy feeling when you push your finger into it. You can feel and taste the difference of a cake that has had the flour sifted.
When do you measure your ingredients, before or after sifting
Measure your ingredients for baking always after sifting. Sifting aerates the food, making it lighter. If you measure beforehand, you could be putting too much of the ingredient in your recipe.
Why do you measure your ingredients after sifting
This is the accurate measurement. Spoon the sifted ingredients into a bowl on your scale to get the weighted measurement.
Even when baking a cake where you are using your measuring cups, you need to spoon the sifted ingredients into your measuring cup. Then level off the excess with the back of a knife (flat edge). This way, you will not be packing your flour into the cup and may inadvertently over-measure the amount of flour and then have your recipe not turn out how you want it to. Too much flour or not aerating your flour will result in a dense cake which will be difficult to chew. It wont give you that light, spongy texture that you picture when you’re eating cake.
How much should you sift at once
- Only ⅓-½ full basket
Otherwise, your flour or icing sugar will go over the sides and make a huge mess.
How do you use a sifter
- Fill your basket ⅓ – ½ full of your first ingredient.
- Move the sifter side to side using your hands.
- Tap the edge of the sifter gently to let the food fall into the bowl.
- For excess food that isn’t coming through the sifter – the dregs of the last bit – discard this. Don’t try to force it through.
- Spoon and measure your ingredient – either with a scale, or with a measuring cup and level off with a knife.
How to clean a sifter
- Bang the excess into a sink or into the garbage can
- If it’s very dirty, wash it with soap and water. Allow to dry fully before using. Never use a sifter when it’s still wet.
- Only sift and measure one ingredient at a time
- Use your sifter over a larger bowl than you think you need
- Don’t overfill the sifter – this will take more time than if you only sift a little at a time
- Use a spoon to gently measure out your sifted ingredient
Think about your own ergonomics when selecting a sifter
- Do you want an extending handle
- Do you want handles on the side
- How big are the holes for what you’re sifting – do you need small or large holes
- How large of a sifter do you want
- The larger the sifter, the bigger the bowl needed to catch the sifted food
What foods can you use with a sifter
- Flour (almond flour, all purpose flour, bread flour)
- Icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- Cocoa powder
A sifter is one of the tools you need in the kitchen at certain times – making a cake, macarons, etc. Select a sifter for your kitchen that you know will work for the desserts you will be baking, and that will last a long time. You will have your sifter for years to come.