Baking with coconut flour
Author: ANCP Date Posted:13 May 2014
A Tasty Treat
Coconut flour is a natural food product. It is made when whole coconuts are juiced for coconut milk. The left over meaty pulp is dried slowly for a very long time. Then it is ground into a soft flour that looks much like wheat flour. Gluten-free and healthy to eat, coconut flour is becoming a fast favourite of many chefs.
But this interesting flour substitute cannot be just subbed into any recipe. It's very different from grain flours and nut flours. It has unique traits that can make cooking with it both a challenge and a reward.
The Benefits of Coconut Flour
This flour is a healthy substitute for wheat flours. As it is gluten free, people who suffer from disorders that make gluten digestion difficult will love baking with coconut flour. The fibre content of this flour is extremely high. It can also be considered low carb as 2/3 of the carbs are dietary fibre. It is also not a particularly high fat flour when compared to other nut flours. The slight smell and taste of coconut is easily covered by tiny amounts of spices and flavours.
Coconut flour will produce tasty sweet deserts and savoury breads that other types of flours just cannot compare to.
About Cooking with Coconut Flour
When baking, the most important trait of coconut flour to understand is just how much fluid it can absorb. When you are cooking with it, you will need to add much more fluid then you'd think to make a good end product. You will also need to use a lot of eggs. Coconut flour breads, in particular, are egg hungry. You may need up to a dozen eggs to create a bread with good texture.
This is because the egg proteins replace the gluten in wheat and they are required to produce a lighter and less dense bread.
Substitution of Coconut Flour
You cannot substitute coconut flour in typical recipes without substantially changing the recipe. Very little coconut flour is needed to produce a successful recipe – for example when baking you may only need ¼ cup of coconut flour to substitute 1 cup of wheat flour. You will also need to adjust spices and moisture levels to prevent baked goods from becoming dense and dry.
Coconut flour can be substituted for other nut flours recipes a little more easily as they are both gluten free. You will still need to adjust the dry/wet ingredients (for example almond flour may be substituted with 1/3 of the weight of coconut flour and triple the eggs) and you may need to experiment with your batter to make it the correct consistency.
The best way to cook with coconut flour is to find recipes that already contain it, and alter them to your needs. This will save a lot of trial and error and wasted ingredients and result in a rewarding baking experience.