First things first:
What is coconut flour?
Coconut flour is a soft, flour-like product made 100% from finely ground up dried coconut meat. It’s naturally gluten, grain and nut free making it a great alternative flour in healthy and allergy friendly baking.
How is it made?
It’s made from coconut meat that has been pressed to remove moisture (that makes coconut milk & oil). After the coconut meat has been pressed and dried it is then ground until it becomes a fine, powder-like substance that we know as coconut flour.
How Does it taste?
Coconut flour does have a mild, sweet taste that is fairly distinct. If you’re not crazy about the taste of coconut it may take a little adjusting to get used to. That being said you can mask the flavour fairly well if you use it alongside other strong flavours or spices like: cacao, coffee, bananas, etc.
What’s the nutrition info?
In addition to being free from major allergens and gut irritants it’s also got an impressive nutrition profile being high in fibre, protein and healthy fats while also being low in digestible carbohydrates and sugar. It’s low on the glycemic index which also makes it another option for diabetics or people who need to keep an eye on their blood sugar.
1/2 US Cup coconut flour = 56 grams
Total Fat: 8g
Saturated Fat: 8g
Dietary Fibre: 20g
How to Use Coconut Flour In Recipes
Coconut Flour is notoriously difficult to work with, but once you get the hang of it you’ll fall in in love. It’s an extremely absorbent flour which means two things:
- You’ll need a lot of moisture in your recipes (from eggs, oil, pureed fruit, etc).
- You need to use very little flour for success.
You can’t just substitute coconut flour 1:1 for other types of flour, grain based or not.
Coconut Flour in General Baking
As a general rule of thumb you can use about 3-4 tablespoons of coconut flour for 1 cup of wheat based flours or almond flour. Of course this isn’t always true because there are too many variables in recipes to ever say for certain, but it’s a place to start if you’re ever feeling adventurous in the kitchen.
Since coconut flour is so dry and absorbent you really need to make sure that you’re using ingredients that have a lot of moisture. Eggs are often used in recipes with coconut flour because they’re an excellent source of moisture and binding when baking. Other additional liquids include: mashed fruit, milk, oil, vinegar, yogurt etc.
Coconut Flour in General Cooking
Since it’s such a thick flour, you can use it as a thickener is soups/stews. As long as you’re cooking with other strongly flavoured ingredients (like onion or garlic) it shouldn’t affect the taste too much. Just make sure to mix it well and add only a little bit at a time. You can always add more coconut flour, but once it’s in you can’t take any away.
You can also use coconut flour as binders in things like meatballs and meatloaf. Just keep in mind that you’d still need to increase the amount of liquid in the recipe as you would with baking.
It’s also important to note that coconut flour is not a great flour to use on it’s own in recipes in which you’re trying to make something crispy or fried. It just ends up soggy and clumpy and not at all the texture you’d want. Almond flour would be a better flour to use if you’re looking for a grain/gluten free breading.
When it comes to cooking with coconut flour I’d start with tried and true recipes that you know works and stick to the recipe unless you’re comfortable with what you’re doing. It’s not the most forgiving flour and can take some getting used to, but it can make for some really delicious foods once you get the hand of it.
How Long Does Coconut Flour Last?
Coconut flour, like other nut flours, contain a lot of natural fat and oil which means that they oxidise and go rancid quicker than other types of flour. They have a recommended shelf life of 6-12 month, but if you store it properly you can keep them for longer. Ideally you’re supposed to store coconut flour in the fridge or freezer, but if you don’t have room (because honestly who has that much space in the freezer?) just store it in a dark cupboard.
I had an sealed bag of coconut flour that sat in a dark cupboard for about a year before I opened it and it was still fine. Once opened I store the flour in air tight, sealed containers and I’ve never had to throw out any coconut flour for going bad.
If you’re not sure whether or not your coconut flour is still good, just give it a whiff – if it’s still smells sweet and nutty you’re fine. If it starts to smell bitter then chuck it out.
Where to buy Coconut Flour?
I live in the UK so my buying options are pretty limited. I typically buy my coconut flour from Costco because it’s cheap and I get a ton of it, but I also do a lot of baking which means I go through it quickly. Amazon is usually my first choice when it comes to purchasing any type of specialty ingredient because it’s usually the most affordable price.
If you live in the US you should be able to buy it from Walmart, Target, Whole Foods and Sprouts. When I was in Arizona last I noticed a lot more grocery stores were starting to stock more specialty items so take a look at stores near you to check if you can buy it there. You should be able to find it in the baking aisle or possibly even the health food aisle of the store.
If you’re buying your coconut flour from a store that offers it in bulk bin then keep in mind that that flour won’t be safe for anyone who needs to eat a strict gluten free diet because of the potential cross contamination issues.
There are loads of brands to choose from: Bob’s Red Mill, Nutvia, Coconut Secrets are a few that I’ve tried. I can’t say that I’ve seen any noticeable differences in my baking, so I usually just buy whatever is the best value/most convenient.
What’s your experience with coconut flour? It’s taken time, but baking with coconut flour did grow on me once I got the hang of it. Any favourite recipes or way to cook with it? Looking back into my archives I realise that I mostly only use it in a sweets so I’d like to play around more using it in savoury recipes.
Send me your recommendations or problems that need trouble shooting and I’ll do my best to help you out!
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