Coconut flour does not have the same properties as grain based flours. Like any nut flour (almond, hazelnut, chestnut etc.), it’s the nut-meat itself that has been dried and ground. It has a sweet, slightly coconut flavour which isn’t noticeable in the finished product. You cannot use coconut flour 1:1 for other flours, not even other nut flours. You will regret ignoring this!
Always sift or sieve coconut flour before mixing into the remaining ingredients; it will be lumpy and not blend evenly.
Very high in fiber, coconut flour absorbs liquids readily, so it’s important to not add more than what is called for in the recipe. For instance, if you mix your batter and feel it’s not thick enough, rather than add more flour, just let it sit for a minute or two. For that reason, don’t let your batter sit around; once mixed, get it into the prepared pan and into the oven.
You’ll notice most recipes using coconut flour call for a lot of eggs. Don’t be afraid of eggs! Unless you have an egg allergy. Eggs have been unfairly vilified for being a cholesterol bomb, but not only do our bodies need it to metabolize hormones and fat soluable vitamins such as A, K, E, and D, but dietary cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol. In fact, 85% of cholesterol in the blood is endogenous which means the body created it. Inflammation is what causes heart disease, not cholesterol, and the myth of its impact has been debunked for over twenty years, except by the makers of statin drugs. Go ahead and Google it. But I digress.
Eggs in the recipes should be beaten well since coconut flour does not have the gluten protein that causes grain based flours to rise. The air beaten into the eggs act as a leavener. If you have a stand mixer, separating the eggs and whipping the whites, then folding back in will create an even lighter product. I love my stand mixer almost as much as I love Mad Cy.
Coconut flour works best for quick breads such as muffins, loaf cakes, pancakes, and for some cookies and layer cakes; it is not suited at all for making pastry. If you want a crispy cookie, coconut flour is not a good choice; soft, chewy cookies: yes!
When buying coconut flour, look for organic—I buy mine from a local health food store but it’s also available in most large grocery stores. Coconut flour is low in carbohydrates and ideal for a low glycemic diet. It’s a good idea to keep coconut flour well wrapped in the freezer to avoid absorbing moisture from the air and clumping.
Coconut flour can also be added to main meals such as meatloaf or salmon cakes for fiber and to bind the ingredients.
Have you baked with coconut flour before? Do you have any tips?