Have you ever opened the pantry cabinet to find no all-purpose flour and wondered, “What should I use instead?” If you have been in this situation before, then we’ve got some good news: coconut flour and dal flour are excellent wheat-free options to bake with!
Both are gluten-free alternatives that can be used interchangeably in many recipes. In this blog post, we’re taking a closer look at both flours to see which one reigns supreme when it comes to baking. We’ll explore the key differences between them so that you can decide if making the switch from all-purpose flour to these or any of our 50+ types of flour is worth it for your cakes and pastries.
Comparing coconut flour vs dal flour
|Dal flour||Coconut flour||All-purpose flour|
|Allergens||Legumes (lentils)||Coconut (tree nuts)||Wheat, gluten|
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)||6 months||Up to 2 years||6-8 months|
|Best for baking||instant dosas, instant idlers, instant vadas, pappads, dosa other Indian snacks||Cakes, cookies, pie crusts, muffins.||Non-yeast recipes, cookies, biscuits, and some breads|
*It is not recommended to substitute dal flour with all-purpose flour, as the properties and flavors are just too different. There are much better substitutes both for all purpose and for dal flour.
Differences between dal flour and coconut flour
Dal flour also goes by the names black gram flour, urad dal flour, or black lentil flour. It is made from black lentils that have been dried and ground into a powder (see, lentils aren’t only just made for soups and curries!). Coconut flour is made from dried coconut ground into a powder, and that is about the most significant similarity.
Urad dal flour has a distinctly nutty and sometimes bitter flavor, whereas coconut flour has hints of sweetness. In terms of texture, both flours are relatively fine-grained; however, dal flour tends to be slightly coarser than coconut flour.
Baking with coconut flour vs dal flour
When it comes to baking, dal flour and coconut flour could be used interchangeably if necessary if you are okay with the different flavor profiles. However, there are some important differences that bakers should keep in mind when substituting. For example, coconut flour absorbs more moisture than dal flour because of its higher fat content (coconut contains more fat than lentils). This means that recipes using coconut flour may require slightly less liquid than those that use dal flour.
Recipes using coconut flour may also require more eggs or other binders, such as psyllium husk powder, to ensure that the baked goods hold together well while baking.
Ingredients in dal flour vs coconut flour
Black lentil flour (Urad dal flour) should be made with 100% dried and ground black lentils. It might be labeled as urad flour, urad dal, black lentil flour, gram flour, or black gram flour, so best to check the actual ingredients themselves to make sure you are grabbing the right thing.
Coconut flour is made from 100% dried and ground coconut meat; no additives are needed. (In fact, I’d highly recommend avoiding additives if at all possible – see our pick for the best coconut flour you can buy for more on this.)
Dal flour + coconut flour nutritional facts
|Per ¼ Cup Serving||Dal flour||Coconut flour||All-purpose flour|
|Glycemic index score||43g||45||85|
Compared to dal flower, coconut flower contains more dietary fiber and healthy fats (in particular medium chain triglycerides). Both types also contain several essential micronutrients, such as potassium and magnesium, as well as B vitamins and folate. As you can see, both have a much lower glycemic index than all-purpose flour; if you’re looking for a flour that has a REALLY low glycemic index score, try almond flour.
Dal flour vs coconut flour storage
When it comes to storing either type of flowers long-term, it’s important to remember that both types can become rancid quickly when exposed to air or light for prolonged periods, so you should always store either type in an airtight container away from heat or light sources for optimal shelf life.
Additionally, both types should be kept away from potential contamination sources, such as strong-smelling foods or chemical residues, so they don’t absorb that flavor. It can happen! Dal flour can be particularly attractive to bugs, so if you can keep it in the fridge, do so.
Dal flour vs coconut flour: The ultimate verdict
The ultimate verdict on whether or not you should choose one over the other depends on what type of recipe you’re making—and what flavor profile you’re looking for—but generally speaking, both types offer significant benefits when used correctly in baking applications thanks primarily due to their high fiber/low carbohydrate ratio which makes them an excellent choice for low carb recipes or those looking for added texture without sacrificing taste or nutrition value.
I like to think about which flavor profiles of each flour would work best with the recipe at hand! Whichever type you decide upon, make sure not to forget about storage methods so that your chosen product doesn’t taste manky. Happy baking!
You sure can; it is as simple as roasting the skinned black gram lentils, grinding them, and then sieving them into a fine powder. If that sounds like far too much elbow grease, then most Indian food stores will sell it.
Yes, Urad dal is used to make some traditional Indian sweets. I haven’t seen much online about using urad dal for non-Indian desserts, but I have a sneaking suspicion it would be great in brownies and other fudgy things, served alongside a cup of paleo thai tea.
Both are made from dried and ground legumes, but while urad dal is made from black lentils, moong dal is made from dried and ground yellow-skinned mung beans and is sometimes called ‘Petite yellow lentil flour.’