Question: Should flour be sifted before or after measuring?
Many people write me with questions about sifting and measuring flour. This is a common confusion, but one that's easily clarified.
It depends on how the ingredient is described in the recipe. Unless the recipe specifically tells you to sift flour, don't sift it. Flour processors sift the flour many times before it leaves the plant; there's no need to sift flour these days.
But if the recipe says '2 cups sifted flour' you should sift the flour into a bowl, then measure it.
If the recipe says '2 cups flour, sifted', you should measure the flour first, then sift it.
Ingredient lists contain more than just ingredients. For more information, please see How to Read a Recipe. And for more information about how to measure flour, see How to Measure and NOT to Measure Flour.