Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Coconut Flour - What is it and what can you do with it?!

by Lisa K. Beach, Ph.D., CHES

I’ve been using a lot of coconut flour lately, so I thought I’d talk about why I like it. Basically, it is made of dried ground up coconut meat.
Coconut flour is:
  • high fiber (around 60%!!) – this makes it a little tricky because it needs a lot of moisture to “work” in recipes. For example, the chocolate cake recipe required 10 eggs! At first, this seems like a negative…but why? Eggs are cheap and nutritious!
  • gluten and grain free
  • hypoallergenic
  • low carb and high protein (compared to other flours)
  • usually off-white in color, although I’ve noticed different brands have slightly different textures and colors (I’ve tried Coconut Secret, Wilderness Family Naturals, and Bob’s Red Mill—they’re all good!)
  • not full of flavor, but some people think it has a mild coconut flavor—I don’t notice this
Here's one recipe idea:

Coconut Flour Flatbread
In a bowl, mix together the following:
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 pinches of sea salt
1/4 cup any kind of milk
*you can add herbs to the bread if you like.

Stir until there are no lumps. Let it sit for a minute (the batter will get a little fluffier). Melt a tablespoon or two of butter (Ideally, pastured, organic, local!) in the pan, and pour two small sandwich sized “pancakes” into your pan (on just under medium heat). It will only spread just a little bit. When the tops start to bubble just a little and the bottom is brown, flip them both over. Put the cheese and other sandwich contents on one slice, and then put the second flatbread on top with the un-done side up. Flip when the bottom is brown, and continue cooking till the cheese is melted and the flatbread is done! This recipe makes 4 small-sized sandwich flatbreads. You can eat them all, or you can save 2 for later and toast them!
You can add anything you'd like on a sandwich--one of my favorites is mozzarella and pesto!

This flatbread is not crunchy like regular bread when made into grilled cheese. It has a great flavor and wonderful bread-y texture. It gets more and more crispy as you add more butter (so I recommend being liberal with it!).

Many recipes will call for just subbing in coconut flour for part of the flour requirement, and at first I considered doing this with the flatbread. In the past, I’ve made waffles with coconut flour, and they were kind of rubbery (all that fiber!). But, I just made sure to keep the ratio of eggs to flour high in the flatbread, and also fluffed it up a bit with the baking soda and baking powder.

Have you ever baked or cooked with coconut flour?


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