Sunday, April 24, 2011

Coconut Flour

The Gluten Free Flour That Could

Coconut Flour Got a Bum Rap Dude!
Coconut palm heavy with green coconuts
I’m coo coo for coconuts! Really! Coconuts were given a very bad rap back in the 70s when we were hit with the whole “fat is bad” theory of heart disease. In my opinion, coconuts provide superior nutrition as part of a primal, well-balanced diet.

Traditionally for thousands of years, cultures depending primarily on sustenance from coconuts and fish had very low incidence of diseases of civilization (heart disease, diabetes, cancer). Stephan Guyenet over at


Whole Health Source writes eloquently on the subject. I highly recommend reading about coconut consumption and traditional diets on Stephan’s blog.

Another good source of information on adding coconuts to your diet is the Weston A. Price Foundation. Dr. Mary Enig, a renowned researcher on fat metabolism, and author of one of the best books on the subject, Know Your Fats, along with Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and traditional foods scholar and author of several cookbooks such as Nourishing Traditions, show us that adding coconut to our diets in its various forms provide functional nutrition not found in other food sources. And did I mention its gluten free?!

Coconut flour as a traditional and functional food excels. It's naturally low glycemic which makes coconut flour an excellent choice for diabetics. High in fiber, gluten free - what's not to love? If you have food intolerances, coconut flour added into your food rotation often provides welcome relief from food boredom because it can give back bread into your diet!

You Are Here! {hello!}
Bob's Red Mill makes an
excellent coconut flour
Let’s get to why you are here. You are interested in knowing why and how to use coconut flour, right? Yep. I was in your shoes about a couple of years ago when I discovered the advantages of incorporating coconut flour and coconut oil into our diets.

First mistake I made was making a recipe with 1:1 replacement of coconut flour to all-purpose flour. Hello! Just don’t do it, mkay? Lethal weapon. Gut bomb. Inedible waste of precious resources – ka-ching!!! Money down the drain! Have I made my point?

BUT! BUT! When you use no more than 10-30% coconut flour in balance with other low carb “flours” in a recipe, it becomes pure magic!

Coconut flour feels dense because of its high fiber and high protein content. Made from grinding de-fatted coconut meat, from mature brown coconuts, this creamy flour contains about 58% fiber – mostly insoluble - the kind that doesn’t get digested in the gut.

Oddly Enough, It Tastes Like Coconut
Yeah, but get to the point already. What does coconut flour taste like!? Coconuts, silly! Coconut flour tastes like creamy coconut and gives baked goods a corn-meal type of texture. Its mildly sweet flavor complements many savory preparations too – so don’t think coconut flour should only be used in sweet applications.

For instance, I combine coconut flour with parmesan cheese, and ground pumpkin and sesame seed meal (or almond flour if you aren’t allergic to it like me)…and use it to bread things. Tastes fabulous on seafood, poultry, pork and heck, I may have made chicken fried steak with it once or twice but shhhh, don’t tell my doctor! ;) This blend tastes great on asparagus spears, green beans, cauliflower and broccoli too!

Replace ME!
Click For Larger Image
In baking, I use coconut flour to make up about 1/8c-1/3c of flour replacement when a recipe calls for all-purpose flour. The remaining amount of flour volume gets made up from a collection of other nut flours, brans, and resistant starches.

Use coconut flour by spooning the flour into a measuring cup, then sweep the cup level with the back of a knife. Always put it through a small mesh strainer and tap it or scrub it with a spoon, to force the flour through the mesh. Sifting the flour, in this method, leaves it fluffy and separates the clumps that often form.

Coconut flour is hygroscopic. That's Nutrition Nerd code for meaning that coconut flour is a silly tramp for water and liquids of all kinds! It absorbs moisture from the air like crazy and then clumps, sits around, and whines about it. The only cure for the clumps is a good old sift!

Cha! But Where Can I Find It?
I buy my coconut flour at a little health food store near my house, but it’s readily available at stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and other megalamarts as well as online. Bob’s Red Mill makes an excellent brand, but I’ve heard good things about the Tropical Traditions brand too.

I use so much of the stuff in my recipe research; I’m seriously considering becoming a Bob’s Red Mill wholesaler and carrying a few of the products Fluffy Chix use the most - coconut flour, hazelnut meal, pecan flour
Allergy Notes!
Ok now, allergic peoples – listen up! Coconut flour is gluten free, but just be extra careful that the manufacturer says "certified gluten free" on the label. Also Dr. Mercola reports that coconut flour is hypoallergenic but you folks with tree nut allergies should consult your doctors first and tread lightly around it ok? Are we clear about this? Nut allergies can turn ugly quicker than you can say Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers! 

Allergies are no laughing matter! Don't be a goof and play around with them!

SusieT's Notes:
Yes, I know you can't dance to it, but this coconut flour is good stuff, man! If lovin' it is wrong, I don't wanna be right. It plays so well with others, it's just a gem of a playmate. And if you're trying to go gluten free as I am, you need natural food tools like coconut flour. 

Grilled Cheese Sammy with prosciutto and Irish cheddar, served
with tomato soup and Granny Smith apple slices. Hard to
believe it's low carb! Focaccia "bread" made with coconut flour.
There is a learning curve with it, though. The best way to learn how to use coconut flour properly is to follow recipes exactly and get to understand how coconut flour looks when it's mixed into a batter or added to dry mixtures. Luckily so much has been done with coconut flour that recipes are readily available all over the internet. You are just a google away from a fun recipe, no doubts!

Let me know if you have any other questions about coconut flour. Feel free to drop me an email or add a comment to this post and I will be happy to help or point you in the right direction.

You might enjoy making the Revolution Roll recipe included on the Fluffy Chix Cook website.

I used the coconut flour version of the RR recipe to make focaccia and slider buns. They turned out excellently and made such an awesome grilled cheese sammy!

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