Strain Unsweetened Cocoa
Straining unsweetened cocoa is a snap when you use this tip. Never have clumpy batters again!
Why You Need to Sift Cocoa Powder
It might seem like sifting dry ingredients is an unnecessary step, but it serves two purposes.
First, it gets the lumps out of the powder. As dry ingredients sit in a box or a bag, they start to compact and cling together.
It’s most evident with ingredients like brown sugar, but you’ll also see it with flour, cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar, too. Running them through the sifter breaks up any clumps and prevents dry pockets from forming in your batter.
The second more important function is aeration.
Overmixing wet and dry ingredients is the easiest way to end up with a cake that falls flat or turns out dense.
If the dry ingredients are light and fluffy, it’ll be easier to incorporate them into the wet ingredients. This is especially important with delicate cakes, like pound cake or angel food cake.
You may have noticed that those clumps are incredibly difficult to break up, even with a whisk, once in your bowl of other ingredients.
If you don’t get rid of them, they can bake up into dry spots in your brownies. Take the extra few seconds to sift the amount of cocoa powder called for in the recipe with a sifter or a fine mesh strainer.
You can sift it onto a piece of wax or parchment paper before adding it to the other ingredients or you can even sift it right into the bowl.
Here’s What to Do When You Don’t Have a Sifter
Sifting flour is one of those secret tricks that can take your baked goods to the next level, but you don’t need a gadget to get the job done.
There are a few different ways to learn how to sift without a sifter, and one of them happens to be fast and easy.
Straining Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Push the cocoa powder through a strainer, after measuring it and before adding it to your recipe.
Unsweetened cocoa contains cocoa butter, which can cause it to clump. To make sure it combines evenly with the rest of the dry ingredients in your recipe, it’s best to strain it.
Whisk together the dry ingredients, then add them to the wet ones, stirring until the mixture is evenly combined.
How to Sift Without a Sifter
The most common substitution for a flour sifter is a fine mesh strainer.
Unlike bulky flour sifters, strainers are multitaskers. You can use them to drain pasta, remove the bones from simmering stock, line them with cheesecloth to make labneh cheese from yogurt or use them to sift and mix dry ingredients for baked goods.
Simply load the dry ingredients into the bowl of the strainer, hold it with one hand and tap it against the other hand to move the ingredients through.
An even easier and faster way to sift dry ingredients is to add them to a large bowl and mix them using a balloon whisk. Most small clumps will be broken up by the tines of the whisk, and the whisking motion also adds air to the flour, aerating as it mixes.
Tips For Using Cocoa Powder
Make Chocolate extract. Chocolate extract can be used to add flavor to cookies, cakes, puddings, dessert dishes such as chocolate mousse, frosting cake filling, drinks (milk-based), orange juice, and alcoholic beverages.
Research Wikihow, Taste of Home, The Kitchn
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This article is part of the Tips That Help in the Kitchen Series, Tip Friday.