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Monday, February 17, 2014

Coconut Flour

Coconut Flour


What is it?

Coconut flour is made from dried, ground up coconut meat. In most cases, it has also been defatted, which means that the coconut oil and milk has been removed, to varying degrees. 

Nutritional qualities

Flour made from coconut meat is a very low calorie food. This is because the bulk of the carbohydrate contained within it is fibre. Fibre is a form of carbohydrate that cannot be digested, and therefore accounts for no calories. So it’s ideal for people on a low calorie diet.
Not only does it have the highest fibre content of any flour, but it is also a good source of protein.
So really, with a grain and gluten free, high fibre, high protein, low calorie food like this, there is really no excuse not to hop on the band wagon....
....but before you do, read on to make sure you set yourself up for success. 

Baking: 4 tips for success

To succeed with such a fibre-rich flour in the kitchen, you’ll need to know the following: 

1. It's super moisture absorbent.
This means that you can never replace 100% coconut flour in a standard recipe. Very small amounts will require up to 4 times the amount of moisture that gluten flours need. If you do want to add some coconut flour to other flours in a standard recipe, replace no more than 15% with coconut flour.
If you want to use 100% coconut flour in a recipe, you’ll need to increase the amount of moisture and also add extra ingredients to make the whole thing stick together. Which leads us to our next point: 

2. It does not bind well.
This means that it will fall apart when cooked unless you use specific ingredients to make it all stick. This is due to the lack of gluten as well as the high fibre content.
Eggs make the perfect moisture base for recipes that use 100% coconut flour. The general rule of thumb is to use 1 medium sized egg for every 30g (1 oz) of coconut flour. 

3. Getting the perfect result can be tricky.
Some people have said to me that they just can’t get good results when using 100% coconut flour recipes. The flour itself can be sensitive to the moisture to flour ratio. But one or two tries usually sort out any problems you might be having with a particular recipe.
I usually make sure my batter is really thick putting it in the oven. The batter will thicken in the few minutes after you add the moisture to the flour mixture. If it is too runny, you risk it turning out with a ‘wet’ kind of consistency (which is different from ‘moist’, believe me).
I also keep an eye on the oven temperature as it bakes, and adjust it from the original recipe on subsequent attempts if I need to. 

4. Use at room temperature.
Bringing all your ingredients to room temperature before you start mixing can improve your chances of success. 


Stored at room temperature, your flour has an approximate shelf life of 6 months. If you store it in the fridge, which I recommend, it lasts even longer. It also keeps it fresher. 

All up, this flour is a great food to add to your diet. Try this basic coconut bread recipe to really get the taste and feel for this sweet flour. Or try this chocolate brownie recipe. You and your willing guests won’t even notice it’s grain and gluten free. 

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