Sifting Fresh Ground Whole Wheat Flour

A friend of mine shared this tip with me that eliminates the need for vital wheat gluten or dough enhancers in bread recipes. I know many of you have emailed and commented about the difficulty of finding gluten in the stores, so this solves your problem. It also saves money, since you won’t have to purchase gluten or dough enhancers.

The tip, sift your flour. Don’t use the old fashioned crank sifter, use a fine mesh metal strainer. You can find them in the grocery store for a couple of dollars.

Sifting Whole Wheat Flour

Measure the amount of flour needed for your recipe, then sift the flour into your other bread ingredients. (My recipe calls for oil, honey, and water first, then add the flour)

sifting whole wheat flour

The bran will separate from the flour and collect in the strainer.

After all the flour is sifted through, add the separated bran into the bowl with the sifted flour and other ingredients. Then knead the dough as directed by the recipe.

I was skeptical until I tried it myself, I have used gluten since I started baking bread and didn’t think my loaves would rise without it. I was wrong. There is something (and I am sure there is a scientific explanation for this) that happens when you separate the flour from the bran that gives you a better rising loaf, even though all the ingredients are still eventually mixed together in the recipe.

This technique also works with any other whole wheat recipe like pancakes, muffins, waffles, rolls, etc. It is a great way to convert a non-whole wheat eater into a whole grain fan.

Try it and let me know if it works for you.


  1. I do this when I run out of all purpose flour for a recipe. It works very well.

  2. What do I do with the bran if I let my bread machine knead my dough?

  3. New here – saw your post title on a friends blog.

    This caught my eye because a friend and I were talking just today about flour, whole wheat, bread making, etc. Thanks so much for this info – I had not heard this and will try this!

  4. Interesting. I generally don’t add gluten or enhancers when I make bread. I am going to try this soon! Thanks!

  5. look at your face on the born free ad!! loving it.

  6. The chemistry involved in baking amazes me sometimes

  7. Yes, it works great. That’s how Gabriele taught me. 🙂

  8. I wonder how it works when you soak it?

  9. Thank you so much for that tip! I am going to make bread today and I will use that! I have had trouble with my bread not being light enough and this makes sense. Love you blog, that you for sharing!

  10. Thanks for the great tip

  11. Interesting. I will have to try that. I’ve never heard of doing that before!

  12. What a great tip! I love using my Kamut Wheat when I bake and I will have to try this! Thanks 🙂

  13. I’m so glad that I stumbled upon this post. We grind whole wheat flour for bread and I’d love to eliminate the need for gluten. Thanks so much!

  14. Works wonderfully! My husband and I just began baking with our own milled whole grains and hadn’t been sifting them. Now that I am, I’m getting great results. Thanks

  15. Dede Bliss says:

    Emergency Essentials has it pretty cheap.

  16. Brilliant!
    One slight issue with this: there is some (inconclusive) evidence that separating the bran results (even after adding the bran back) in a product that causes more ‘bad’ cholesterol to be produced in the digestion process. This was first discovered back in the 1950s, has been supported by other research results since, but no one has found the mechanism or clearly explained why it should occur.

    If you have a problem with cholesterol or high triglycerides you may want to skip the sifting and continue to add gluten. Just to be safe.

  17. One question: does sifting whole wheat flour converts it into all purpose flour? Just wondering. Thanks.

  18. Interesting. I continue to add gluten. I “sift” my flour with a wire whisk as I saw Martha Stewart do and suggest many years ago on one of her shows.

  19. Thanks for this post! I just started grinding my own flour and I’ve read that removing some of the bran can improve the digestibility. I wasn’t sure what to use for a sifter, but I’ll try my fine mesh strainer.

  20. Keith P. says:

    I’m real late to the game here, but I just started trying bread with fresh-milled flour…disastrous! I tried sifting the results in various ways, such as at different grind settings, to no avail. I really want to avoid adding more gluten, since I’m already starting with hard red wheat. But on the soaking issue, what I ran across was ‘autolysing’, which sounds like the chemical process you’re wondering about. It’s similar to what’s going on in no-knead bread – the water helps the starches break down into sugars for the yeast as well as helping the gluten to form more evenly.

    • Vickie Halteman says:

      Keith, try hard white winter wheat. 2 C flour, 1/3 C oil, 1/3 C honey, 2 1/2 C warm water, 2 scant Tlb yeast. Mix this & let sponge for 15 min. then add 2 1/2 t salt & around 5 more cups flour till the dough feels right, kneading about 8 min. The dough should be just not sticky enough to not stick to your hands.

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