If a recipe states that you should sift the flour (takes out lumps, adds air, mixes it well with dry ingredients) and you don't have a sifter, remove 1 tablespoon per cup of flour required to equal the amount of “measurement increase” that is achieved by “sifting” the flour. (Place the flour into the measuring cup, level it off and then use a tablespoon measuring spoon to remove the “1 tablespoon” of extra flour (sifted volumn) and return the tablespoon of extra flour to your canister for use at a later timel.
If you are buying a sifter, I highly recommend the type that has a wire that goes around the sifter not the type with a 2 part handle that you squeeze and it simply moves a set of metal bars back and forth across the bottom of the sifter. This type will only remove lumps and does not add air nor mix your dry ingredients as effectively as the wire type will do for you. It is also important to purchase the largest sifter you can find, since some recipes call for several cups of dry ingredients and when sifting, the can escape out of the top of the sifter making a real mess to clean up, with a loss of ingredients. I like a heavy guage stainless steel type (can be found at Kitchen Center stores in shopping outlets) since they will seldom rust and they don't wear out as easily. I have worn out the “cheap” aluminum kind in the past, now have purchased the good stainless steel one that is big enough to do what is needed without making a mess.
There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips.
I am available to teach cooking classes or food related subjects in your home or give presentations or classes for your organizations or groups. Contact me at the following e-mail address: