Easier Kosher Flour Sifter (Bug Checker)




Check out the full article here: http://frumhacks.blogspot.com/2008/07/my-wife-thank-god-is-great-cook-and.html

My wife, thank God, is a great cook and wonderful baker. (really thank God because coming from my mother’s home anything less than great would have been a serious problem) But, as anyone living or spending time in Israel can tell you, baking in Israel can be a pain, not just because of the Celsius/Fahrenheit issue, nor the ounces, grams, mili, cups, kilo, etc. issue. The biggest pain of baking in Israel is the flour checking. Unless you are lucky enough to find pre-checked, vacuum sealed flour you are gonna be stuck sifting flour to check it for bugs.

Now when I say ‘pain’ I mean for me, I am usually the one who usually ends up sifting the flour, because I am the one who does most of the eating. Now as I am sure you are aware the conventional way of sifting is no picnic. In fact it is more like panning for gold than anything else. You have to put some flour in the sifter and shake it back and forth until the flour flows through the holes and you are left with clean, Kosher flour. It is not a fun job, and not a quick one.

On my mother’s last visit to Israel she brought a gift to our apartment. A flour sifter. No, not the kind you use to sift flour to make it Kosher, they don’t have those in America, but the kind you use to aerate flour for some random recipes. Being that we have never encountered such recipes, we never used the thing (sorry mom, you know she is reading, I am her baby).

Until Now.

Goal: Build an easier sifter to get bug free, Kosher flour.

Things you will need:

  • 1 Israeli 'panning for gold' flour sifter (Badatz Certified, of course)
  • 1 American 'flour aerator' sifter
  • A permanent marker
  • Pliers (needle nose and regular)
  • Hot glue and hot glue gun
  • A carpet knife (X-acto knife, or whatever)
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver
  • Duct tape
  • Some flour


Step 1: Disassembly

Look into the top of the sifter, you will see a bent piece of metal that holds the assembly together (see pic). Take your needle nose pliers, get in there and bend that sucker back so you can remove the top two pieces of the assembly. Use your needle nose pliers to carefully pull out the top two pieces. You need to be firm and gentle so as not to tear the screen, but don't be afraid to pull hard.

Step 2: Measure and Cut

Take the circle shaped screen thingy and place it on top of your Israeli gold panning sifter. Trace the circle with your marker, and cut it out, make sure to leave a little room outside your circle (i.e. don't cut on the line but just outside it).

Step 3: Glue!

Tape the mesh circle onto the circle screen thingy you removed from your American flour aerator. Peel back one section and place a nice line of hot glue on the outer edge, push the mesh firmly down (being careful not to BURN yourself! use a Popsicle stick or something, I dono)
NOTE: Before you use the hot glue, make sure it is non toxic. Also put a piece of masking tape down on your workspace for easy cleanup.
Finish gluing down the rest of the mesh by removing the tape and gluing as you go. Finally turn the mesh/screen circle over and glue around the small circular hole in the middle of if the screen.

Step 4: More Cutting

Cut off the excesses mesh and poke out/cut out the hole in the middle. You should now have a circle screen thing that is covered in the fine Badatz mesh and ready to be installed in your sifter.

Step 5: Reassembly

Reassemble the assembly, remember the screen/mesh thing goes in first than the other piece.
Carefully push the mesh/screen piece back into place until it locks in then place the washer and octagon piece on top of it. Make sure the holes line up and everything fits.

Step 6: More Glue!

Bend the metal back as best you can, it is kinds hard so:
Add a dab of hot glue on the top to hold it all in place. Be careful not to glue the shaft to the mesh/screen or the octagon thing. Doing this will cause your computer to crash, you to lose all your files and the sifter to break.

Step 7: Final Step

Let everything cool and dry. If you are really anxious put the whole thing in the fridge for a minute or so. Test it out, if the top doesn't stay in place add a little more glue.

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a Fancy Sifter. Now when you need to sift flour all you have to do it squeeze the handle and voila!

Hope you enjoyed...

Some of you may be scratching your heads, wondering, "but in the things listed that we would need, he listed duct tape. He never used duct tape in this DIY Project" and you would be right. But I didn't say that list was things you would need for this project, just things you will need, and you WILL need duct tape, everyone needs duct tape!



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    14 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Isn't there a risk that the agitators will actually grind up the bugs into pieces small enough to pass through the fine mesh? I don't keep kosher, so I don't know if this is a problem - I'm just asking.

    Also -

    In the USA, you might consider using silicone sealant that is FDA approved for food contact instead of hot melt glue. I don't know if there is such a thing as holt melt glue approved for food contact, but I have never seen it in my (limited) experience.

    Not all silicone sealant is FDA approved for food contact, but this will be listed on the label somewhere in *very* fine print.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment! Would you mind reposting your comment on my blog so my readers can benefit from this discussion as well? Thanks! http://frumhacks.blogspot.com/2008/07/my-wife-thank-god-is-great-cook-and.html

    I had thought about the issue of bugs getting crushed, that is why (among other things) the fine screen is on top. The agitator on the top doesn't rub against anything and the worst that would happen to a bug would be getting moved around or maybe cut in half, but the mesh is really, really fine (think like a stocking or even finer) so that really only flour passes through. Sugar or other powders don't even go through it. In any case, I don't think there would be enough grinding to make a bug fit through. Great point though! Thanks! (Also I believe there is a different status in Jewish law for bugs that have been broken up and whole ones, will have to look into it)

    This did get me thinking of another project though, an electric sifter. Using a small motor and a weight I think I could rig up a device that would vibrate and shake the flour through the sifter. Maybe for another weekend :)

    With regards to the glue, yeah, you are right, technically the glue is only 'non-toxic' but not approved for food contact. It was tough enough finding the non-toxic hot glue...

    In America, as far as I am aware there is no need to check flour for bugs because the Jewish Law allows us to rely on the presumption that flour in America is clean, in Israel (and many non-US countries) flour and other similar products (grains, rice, etc.) do not have a presumption of being clean, because, well, they aren't.

    Actually, in America there are plenty of insect eggs & larvae in flour. If you dont use flour quickly, and do not refrigerate it, you will sooner or later always find them squiggling around in the surface of the flour. They look lovely when you find them. It always surprises me that flour can be "strictly kosher" at all, in view of the fact that insect eggs must almost surely always be present in the flour for this phenomenon to occur. This can, of course, be excused by simply saying that we can't see them, but then we must compare this to the recent rabbinical ruling in New York City that said that the tap water in the city must be filtered in order to be considered kosher after it was discovered that there were minute crustacea (shellfish) present in the water, as seen under a microscope.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    That's a really nice project - I didn't know that the sifting was important, live and learn, eh?

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    http://www.koralek-almog.com that company has many flour sifting solutions for big and small bakeries. also in USA it is clear now that flour sifting is needed. Koralek installed few flour sifting systems in NY and insects were found. after all the world today in not cold like in the past...


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I have a battery operated flour sifter that I bought years ago in some local store that isn't in business any more.  I can't find any thing on the sifter that says what brand it is or who makes it.  It runs on a C size battery and has only one screen that screws on and off for cleaning.  You might want to check the web for a similar flour sifter.

    Also you should be able to bend the center post back with a flat head screw driver and a hammer.  Tthat will eliminate the use of glue.  You aren't adding that much thickness to make it hard to bend the center back into place.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    What 'bugs' in particular could one find in the flour? There are a lot of kosher insects, and several thousands of insect species are eaten worldwide (on purpose).

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Flour weevils, flour beetles (and their eggs), ants, moth worms, and meal worms to name a few. The only type of insect that is kosher is the grasshopper and only certain species are kosher. Also only certain groups of Jews (Yemenite) know which species these are (through tradition) and are allowed to eat them. The majority of Jews will not.


    Why not just keep the flour in the freezer where the insect larvae remain dormant and the flour lasts much longer. Or am I missing the point?

    1 reply

    Usually I do keep it in the freezer once I have sifted it to prevent new bugs from getting into it. But in general we have to sift it before hand to remove any bugs/larvae that might be in it. In the US flour is generally clean, but can get infested with bugs/eggs/larvae, in Israel and other non-US countries the flour has a presumption of already being infested.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I don't sift for the bugs, but rather for volume consistency. I have found that shaking the flour in a strainer or sieve is much more efficient than any hand held mechanized sifter.


    10 years ago on Step 7

    Not only very instructable, but with humor, also.
    Very nice job.