The Flour Sifter

I try really hard not to hang on to things I don’t need or love.  Preferably, I would only have things in my house that I needed AND loved, but then I wouldn’t have a vacuum cleaner.

There are some things that fall into the ‘might-need-this-one-day’ category and I try to keep this pretty small too (as in, quantity, not individual size. Most of it is quite bulky).  If it’s not easily replaceable, deciding it’s fate is much more difficult.  Things that have stayed include the antique milk separator (worth almost $1000 and will probably be needed when we get a milk cow or two), and the Pioneer Maid wood cook stove ($2600 replacement).

Some things are a lot smaller and even easily replaceable, but I’ve held on to them anyway.  Like this old sifter.

It has a little crank on the side.

And when you turn the crank, the 4 arms inside rotate along the mesh at the bottom.

I thought of this tool the other day while I was mixing up a batch of bread and sifting the bran out of the whole wheat flour by hand with a regular sifter…which brings me to another topic.

I was just reading that the bran in a wheat kernel contains plant toxins and is not a healthy form of fiber.  It actually tears up your insides (better to get fiber from fruits and vegetables).  Traditional cultures removed it before they ate the rest of the grain.

I was having trouble with the last few batches of bread not rising well, and when this happened before, sifting out the bran fixed the problem, but now it was happening with a different brand of flour, so after reading about the toxins in bran, I had no trouble sifting it out again!  It just took a while.

So, back to my story about the sifter…I got it down from it’s spot inside a large pot (hence not taking up any extra space) and went to work on the last of the whole wheat flour in the bag.

It took about 30 seconds to sift 3 cups at a time, as opposed to a full minute for 1 cup by hand.  When you have 9-10 cups to sift at a time, this is a nice timesaver.

3 cups of flour yielded almost a cup of bran.

I’m not sure if it was the bran’s fault that the bread hadn’t been rising well, or if the sifted flour is what made the difference, but boy was it a difference!  Since I started sifting the bran out of the last 2 batches, the loaves come out twice as big as before!  The texture is amazing and it’s so soft and tasty.  Best bread I ever et.

I think I’ll hold on to this sifter for sure, now that it’s proven to be useful.

And the bran?  I put it in the chicken bucket.

I think the girls will like it.  And since they have completely different systems than us, made for eating seeds and grains, they shouldn’t have a problem with it.

I still have a long way to go before I get to a more traditional diet, but I have to start somewhere.  Next on the list might be soaking the flour before I use it (but after I sift out the bran) to get rid of the phytic acid (that blocks nutrient absorption).

Then maybe I’ll try sourdough.

Eventually, I’ll grind my own flour fresh cause then it won’t be rancid like store-bought flour, and my bread will be better than ever!

That’s the goal anyway.

Gotta have goals.

Goals like keeping my carpets clean.


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