Cooking in my grandmother’s kitchen, occasionally I discover a gem of a tried & true. The children were tying on their pinnies, searching for ingredients, and reading out a recipe to me, when I spotted just the right tool for our angel cake, tucked away in a bottom drawer. A flour sifter.


This is likely mid-century, in its sunny yellow. The flour sifter has been around for at least a century. It is operated simply by squeezing the spring-loaded handle, to turn three sieves inside it. Flour tends to form bridges, so this disrupts it and allows it to flow through the screens. The flour floats out in light clouds, and any lumps or large grains are held back. A bit like my trusty moulin. Some of the older designs turn with a knob. There are some gorgeous vintage ones out there, sometimes galvanised, sometimes enamelled and patterned. We sifted salt, baking powder and spelt flour through it a couple of times, and the resulting cake was heavenly.

So pleasing, and somehow reassuring, to see my children baking with their great-grandmother’s best tools.

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