If you’re looking to eat healthier and clean up your diet, you may have stumbled upon coconut flour and recipes that call for it. Preference for baking with this flour is rapidly growing due to benefits it offers to the well-being of the body, which far outweigh those of processed flours.
What Is Coconut Flour?
Coconut flour is made from dried coconut solids ground into a very fine powder. It’s light flavor and coconut scent make it a delicious option for baking. This flour is light and airy, making it amazing for baking cakes, muffins or pancakes.
How To Use Coconut Flour
I started cooking with coconut flour several years ago and I have to say, I wasn’t impressed at first. My breads and cookies were extremely dry and crumbled easily. Not so tasty!
After a lot of recipe testing I found that there are a few things to keep in mind when baking with coconut flour.
- Coconut flour is very high in fiber and very different from wheat flour. When baking with coconut flour you only need to use 1/4 the amount of flour you would normally use in a recipe. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of wheat flour you would only use 1/4 cup of coconut flour in that recipe. Coconut flour also soaks up liquid so you’ll need to add more milk or water and use more eggs to bind the ingredients together.
- Eggs are a very important ingredient in coconut flour recipes because they bind the ingredients together. Without eggs, most coconut flour recipes will crumble apart.
- When making your batter allow the flour to soak up the liquid ingredients for 5-10 minutes. I find that my baked goods come out more evenly baked when I do this.
- Coconut flour can be a little clumpy. Sifting it before measuring can make a big difference in how well your recipe turns out.
Coconut Flour Benefits
There are some major benefits of using coconut flour in your kitchen. It’s easy to make and is great for your body. Especially if you’re trying to eat clean. But even if you’re not, you can still enjoy the unique texture that only this flour can provide.
- Gluten free! Yes, this a completely gluten-free flour. Yet unlike a lot of gluten-free flours, this one isn’t at all mealy in texture. It’s probably the easiest flour to start with if you’re new to gluten-free cooking.
- Lots of healthy fat. Coconuts are loaded with healthy fats, and coconut flour takes advantage of these in a very raw way. There’s very little processing, and the meat of the coconut retains a lot of that savory goodness.
- Contains lauric acid. This is one of the healthy fats crammed into this delicious flour. This one’s especially important because it’s hard to find in most foods. You can look to this fat for help in maintain a healthy thyroid and healthy skin.
- Safe for diabetics. If you’re watching your blood sugar, this is the flour for you. Unlike other conventional flours, coconut flour doesn’t affect blood sugar in a dramatic “spiking” fashion. It may even help reduce the effects of other foods on your blood sugar levels.
- High fiber levels. Unlike most flours, coconut flour has an incredibly high level of fiber, especially the variety of fiber that makes you feel full. A nice little bonus for your sweet treats!
- Promotes healthy digestion. Coconut flour’s particular composition of fats and particular fibers lends very well to the helping your body stay regular.
- Contains protein. Did you know that flours can contain protein? This one does, perhaps due to the minimal processing that goes into making it.
- Low in carbohydrates. Despite being notorious for making you feel full, this flour is low in carbohydrates and is a great option for those looking to reduce their intake.
- Contains manganese. This is definitely the most unique benefit of this flour. Manganese is a vitamin that’s key to general vitamin absorption in your body. It works very closely with Vitamin D in protecting your bones.
- Densely delicious foods. Okay, this isn’t strictly a health benefit. But how many times have you tried to make a dense cake and found it incredibly difficult, so you had to make a few? Exactly. With coconut flour, you can make one and be done. So much healthier!
- Coconut doesn’t need to be soaked! All grains and nuts should be soaked to reduce phytic acid (an anti-nutrient). Coconut flour contains very little phytic acid, which means you don’t have to go to the trouble of properly preparing it!
- Low in Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). I do my best to keep my PUFA intake low. Most nut flours are extremely high in these fats, but coconut flour is low in PUFAs.