What’s so Great about Coconut Flour?

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Have you heard about the benefits of baking with coconut flour? As the interest in grain-free diets continues to rise, many cooks are looking to coconut flour for their baking.
Baking with coconut flour presents unique challenges as coconut flour does not perform the same as grain-based flours in baking; that is, baking with coconut flour requires special techniques before it will yield good results.

What’s so Great about Coconut Flour?

First, it’s not only a gluten free flour, it’s a grain free flour too. So for those who follow strict grain free diets, coconut flour opens up a world of delicious baked goods. That’s obviously a huge advantage to some.

Coconut flour is a soft flour produced from dried coconut meat. It is a natural byproduct of coconut milk production. Just as you can make homemade coconut milk, you can also make coconut flour in your own kitchen if you were so inclined (to save time and effort, I typically purchase my coconut flour at my health food store. Let’s do Organic Coconut Flour and Bob’s Red Mill  Organic Coconut Flour are my favorites).

When coconut milk is pressed from coconut meat, bits of solid coconut meat are leftover and this coconut meat that is leftover after the production of coconut milk is then dried at a low temperature and ground until it produces a soft, fine powder which is then suitable for baking. Popular among those adhering to grain-restrictive diets such as paleo diets, the GAPS or SCD diet or any grain-free diet, coconut flour can offer a gluten-free and protein-rich alternative to traditional grain-based flours.

It’s a high fiber, fairly high protein flour too. When you make these into muffins, breads and cakes, they are quite filling (probably because of the fiber content). The flour is also “sweet” by itself because of the natural sugars in the coconut, meaning that you don’t have to sweetened it as much.


Benefits of Baking with Coconut Flour?

Coconut flour is rich in protein, fiber and fat which makes it exceptionally filling. Coconut flour is also a good source of lauric acid, a saturated fat thought to support the immune system and the thyroid. Like most healthy fats, lauric acid also promotes good skin health. Coconut flour is an exceptionally good source of manganese which helps you to better utilize many nutrients including choline and biotin (found in eggs), vitamin C and thiamin. Manganese also supports bone health, nervous system function, thyroid health and helps to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
Coconut flour is not grain-based, and, as such does not present many of the issues that accompany grains. Coconut flour is gluten-free and, while it does contain food phytate, the mineral-binding effects of phytates in coconut are virtually nonexistent so coconut flour doesn’t need to be soaked.

Baking with Coconut Flour: What you need to know?

In baking, you cannot substitute coconut flour for wheat or other grain-based flours at a 1:1 ratio. They are not equivalent. Coconut flour is extraordinarily absorbent and very little coconut flour is needed to successfully produce a recipe.

In baked goods, you generally want to substitute 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup coconut flour for 1 cup grain-based flour. You will also need to increase the number of eggs. In general for every one cup of coconut flour you use, you will need to use six beaten eggs in your recipe in addition to approximately one cup liquid such as coconut milk.

When baking with coconut, it is best to use established recipes rather than waste considerable expense and time with experimentation.

Tip: If you are frying or sautéing and need to dredge meats or vegetables, you can use coconut flour in an amount that is equivalent to wheat flour. Coconut flour is clumpy. To produce a fine-textured result, the coconut flour must be thoroughly beaten with the other ingredients in your recipe. Coconut flour is dense and can also be dry. Every flour has its peculiar characteristics and baked goods made with coconut flour tend to be dense and dry. To reduce dryness, make sure you’re using plenty of eggs and you can also add cooked, pureed or mashed fruit or vegetables to your baked goods to increase the moisture.

coconut flour

Disadvantages?

Can there be any disadvantages to this wonderful item? I won’t say that these are disadvantages for sure, just something for you to consider.

First, like mentioned before, coconut flour is very high in fiber. Flaxseeds are considered high in fiber and coconut flour beats it hands down. Now, we can get into the the mindset of thinking if something is good, more is better. But it’s all about balance,  too much fiber can be just as damaging as too little. I am not saying that coconut flour is bad because it’s high in fiber, I am just saying you need to be aware that you consuming very large amounts of fiber at a time with coconut flour.

It’s also not really a “whole food”. Whole wheat flour is a whole food, coconut flour is a by-product, or the leftovers of coconut milk production. That doesn’t make it bad, just something to think about.

Is coconut flour something like it a traditional food for people to consume? I don’t know. Coconut milk, coconut oil and whole coconut,  back in home they are for sure. I just don’t know if some old timers used or still use the flour, so I can say yes, it was or still is a traditional food.

While coconut flour is less expensive than almond flour, it’s still more expensive than some options, especially when you consider you have to use a lot of eggs in a coconut flour recipe to hold it together.

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