Baking with Coconut Flour
One of the hardest things about giving up wheat or going gluten-free is foregoing comfort food. When I was diagnosed with celiac – disease in 1995, I craved pizza. I longed for muffins, and cookies. But the tiniest molecule of wheat gave me hours of running to the bathroom, burning stomach pain, and exhaustion. In the 30 days of cooking from scratch challenge (#30fromscratch), many of the participants are avoiding wheat or gluten in their food. For some its a health mandate, and for others its by choice. If you are one of those people, I’ve got some good news.
I’ve recently discovered coconut flour — a low carb, high fiber alternative to wheat flour. While, like all gluten-free substitutes, it lacks the structural integrity of gluten, it performs better for me than many starchy substitutes. It also does this without adding a significant carbohydrate wallop to your low-glycemic, or low carb diet plan. Coconut flour varies according to the source and maturity of the coconuts that it is made from. It is the by-product of coconut milk production. Thus it is mostly fiber, with a small amount of protein, and fat — most of this being extracted with the coconut milk. You actually can make it at home, by making coconut milk from dried coconut flakes. Extracting the oil and milk well by pressing. Then drying the pulp and grinding it in a Vitamix or food processor.
General rules for working with coconut flour
Because coconut flour is not a starch, it has its own rules when working with it.
- Use 1/4 to 1/3 coconut flour when substituting coconut flour for wheat flour in a recipe
- Use 4 to 5 eggs per cup of coconut flour in your recipe
- You can make flax jelly or chia jelly to use as an egg replacer in your recipe for some of the eggs, or add ground flax or chia seeds and let them soak up some of the moisture in your recipe before beating in the coconut flour
- When using it as a sauce or pudding thickener it will have a gritty texture instead of the smooth texture of starch-based sauces
- It has a sweetness to it so you can cut back on sugar by 1/3rd to a 1/2
- It absorbs a lot of liquid in your recipe. Allow the coconut flour batter to rest for at least 15 minutes before adding more flour. Too much flour will make your baked goods very dry.
- Date sugar and dried fruits help to retain the moisture in baked goods made with coconut flour
- Using honey instead of sugar in a recipe made with coconut flour, helps to hold the baked goods together.Print
A light, gluten-free, bread that is perfect for snacks, serving as dessert, or enjoying with afternoon tea.Scale
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 c. flax seed, freshly ground
- 8 eggs, beaten lightly
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup. coconut oil, melted
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt
- 1/2 cup cranberries, dried
- 2 tbsp. coconut, shredded (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix eggs, coconut flour, flax seed, honey, and coconut oil together.
- Beat well. Allow the batter to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
- It should be the consistency of a thick muffin batter.
- Add more flour if it is too liquidy, 2 tbsp. at a time.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes between additions to allow the coconut flour fully absorb the liquid.
- Add salt, baking powder and dried cranberries to the batter.
- Spread in a greased bread pan, about 3/4s full.
- Sprinkle coconut on top.
- Place loaf in the middle of the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350F.
- Reduce heat to 325F and continue baking an additional 15 to 25 minutes until centre is done and top of loaf is golden brown.
- Don’t over bake.
- Allow to cool completely before slicing.
1 cup coconut flour
1/4 c. flax seed, freshly ground
8 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 cup organic honey
1/4 cup. Virgin coconut oil, melted
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp. shredded coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix eggs, coconut flour, flax seed, honey, and coconut oil together. Beat well. Allow the batter to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. It should be the consistency of a thick muffin batter. Add more flour if it is too liquidy, 2 tbsp. at a time. Allow to rest for 10 minutes between additions to allow the coconut flour fully absorb the liquid. Add salt, baking powder and dried cranberries to the batter. Spread in a greased bread pan, about 3/4s full. Sprinkle coconut on top.
Place loaf in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F. Reduce heat to 325F and continue baking an additional 15 to 25 minutes until centre is done and top of loaf is golden brown. Don’t over bake.
Allow to cool completely before slicing.
The loaf is high in fiber, and very filling.
There is a light coconut fragrance when it first comes out of the oven but there is no coconut taste in the finished baked goods, unless you add additional coconut to the top.
For those foregoing gluten or wheat-based baking, coconut flour offers comfort, convenience, and the pleasure of eating baked goods without the trauma.
Some other things to consider:
If you are allergic to eggs, coconut flour might not be the best choice. Guar gum or xanthan gum are often used to give structure in gluten-free flours. I haven’t tried using guar gum instead of eggs with coconut flour.
Adding apple sauce or other high in pectin fruit might increase the structural integrity of coconut flour and allow you to reduce the number of eggs used and the amount of sweetening. It’s on my list of things to try.
See also: ‘The Very Best Gluten-Free Brownie Ever’