Flour consistency is very important when baking cakes, pies or breads and flour sifters are the best way to get flour as fine as possible. Flour is placed in the compartment on top and run through a mesh screen to ensure that the flour that falls into the bowl is soft and fluffy. Once sifted, the clumps of flour are eliminated, creating an evenly baked dish. While they all go through the sifter, there are many different types of flour that are best suited for different types of baking needs. All-purpose flour is the most readily available flour and comes in bleached and unbleached varieties. Bleached all purpose flour has been chemically treated to appear lighter and is good for use in pie crusts, cookies, pancakes and waffles. Unbleached all-purpose flour is better suited for yeast breads, puff pastries, Danishes and éclairs.
Bread flour has more gluten-strength and higher protein than is found in all-purpose flour. This flour works best with yeast breads. Whole-wheat flour, is the highest in nutrient content since it is made from the whole kernel of wheat. Cake flour has a soft, fine texture and has high starch content. This flour mixes better with sugar and is less likely to fall. Pastry flour falls somewhere between all-purpose flour and cake flour with regard to consistency and is excellent for making a tender, flaky pastry.