Most baking recipes call for sifted dry ingredients. It means separating the coarse ingredients and breaking down the lumps in dry ingredients such as flour, cocoa powder, or sugar. But what do you do if you don’t have a sieve or a sifter? Use a whisk!
The whisk is probably the kitchen tool most associated to a baker. In fact, no baker should be without a trusty whisk, whether it’s attached to a stand mixer or is a handheld one. That’s because it’s the only tool that can transform slimy egg whites into cloud-like foams for meringues as well as incorporate air into cold cream, which you can then pipe or dollop onto your desserts.
While a whisk is great for aerating cream and egg whites, that’s not the only thing it can do. It’s actually a multitasking kitchen tool. If you have accidentally made a lumpy batter, it’s the whisk, not a spatula or a spoon, that you grab to briskly yet gently dissolve those lumps, so you end up with a smooth batter instead of a curdled-looking mixture.
It’s also the tool you turn to when you need to not only mix ingredients together but also sift your dry ingredients.
This is what you do:
Measure your dry ingredients—flour, leaveners, powders—and transfer to a large bowl. Using the whisk like you would if you were mixing the dry with the wet, whisk the dry ingredients vigorously for several seconds until the dry ingredients are fluffy and any lumps are no longer visible. Whisk longer if the mixture is particularly lumpy, such as the case may be for ingredients that clump together like cocoa powder and baking soda.