Does anyone have experience baking with coconut flour? I think it would be a good alternative to wheat flour, but have never cooked with it. (Matter of fact, I have never seen it in the store.)
I get coconut flour from the bulk foods store.
The thing to remember about coconut flour is that because it has no gluten in it you need to add eggs in order to hold the recipes together. It takes alot of eggs, roughly about 1 large egg for each 1/4 cup of flour your using.
Coconut flour is VERY filling due to its high fibre content. I personally don't like it much as I feel like I have a heavy lump of dough sitting in the bottom of my stomach whenever I eat it.YMMV
That said, the point of the paleo WOE is to consume, as much as possible, "whole" foods, not processed foods. IMO if you have a craving for chocolate cake, then you should make the richest chocolate cake you can with the real ingredients, invite your friends over for tea and cake, enjoy your cake thoroughly along with the company and acknowledge the cheat for what it is. Then get on with your Paleo WOE....80/20% is normal for people, after all we are human and live only once.
Coconut flour is extremely dry and as a result you need much less than wheat flour. A LOT less. I'd say decrease by more than half of what a wheat/white flour recipe calls for. I've gone thru a few bags of coconut flour "experimenting" and ruining recipes but think I finally got the hang of it.
I have had the best success making muffins. Tried pancakes but they tasted eggy. I'd rather have eggs. I'll try the recipe on the coconut flour bag for pancakes (for my kids). Here's the Banana/carrot muffin recipe
3/4 c. coconut flour 2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp sea salt or 1/4 tsp salt 2 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs 1 c. chopped dates 3 ripe bananas 1 tsp cider vinegar 1 1/2 c. shredded carrots 1 tbl coconut oil (I melt in microwave 20 secs)
I put eggs, bananas, dates and cider vinegar in food processor with vinegar and mix.
Add dry ingredients together.
Add dry ingredients to wet. Add shredded carrots.
Dollop into paper-lined cupcake pan
350 degrees F for 20 minutes.
These are not the prettiest but they are sweet and delicious. Sugar free, dairy free, gluten free. I also tried it with Pumpkin sans bananas and it was a nice change up (use pumpkin pie spice in place of cinnamon and double it). You can see pics at www.beckanstee.com
I agree with what everyone else is saying--it's dry, and if you use too much of it in a recipe, you can end up with a chalky/dry sensation in your mouth, and a heaviness in the stomach. However, I have found a couple of recipes in which a little bit of coconut flour works pretty well to improve the overall texture of the recipe.
Here's one for bite-sized brownies: http://paleograd.blogspot.com/2011/02/paleo-brownie-bites.html
They don't taste like substitution food--super moist and delicious.
You can purchase coconut flour at most health food stores such as Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, etc. It is not very expensive.
Coconut flour is a great option for creating paleo desserts and "breads." I personally no longer use this sort of thing and stick to a more strict carnivore diet, but it's great for those who like a few more carbs.
You may substitute coconut flour in any standard recipe. It does not have gluten, so it won't get that "springy" feel that regular wheat flour does when you knead it. But it's a great substitution in cookie recipes or for pie crusts.
Coconut flour does taste "coconutty" to a degree. It's not an overwhelming flavor, it's rather gentle, but you will want to take it into consideration when you decide what other ingredients to incorporate into your recipe. It's also kind of dry and mealy, in my opinion, so it will also change the consistency of your final product. You will want to add more fat or liquid in the mixing stage.
Good luck, and enjoy the coconut flour goodies! It's a fun ingredient to play with, and I sure did my share of playing with food when I transitioned from SAD to paleo!
You can't treat non-grain flours like they have gluten; because they don't. Therefore, you just can't swap nut flours 1:1 for wheat flour. It just won't work! So you have to try recipes that have been made just for nut flours!
There are awesome coconut flour recipes on this website, Livable Low Carb, that has now gone away. She listed Cinnamon Muffins, Spicy Carrot Muffins, and Chocolate Muffins... I was addicted to her recipes. She calls for either almond flour or coconut flour. I get better results with the coconut flour.
Here's my favorite recipe:
Mix the almond or coconut flour, egg yolks, cinnamon, sweetener and optional vanilla together in a bowl. If the mix is too stiff add warm water a spoonful at a time and mix well to loosen it up. Whisk the egg whites in a very clean glass bowl until they are stiff. Fold the whisked egg whites into the almond and egg yolk mixture. Brush 12 silicon muffin cases with melted butter. Divide the mixture evenly between them and bake at 175ºC until risen and firm.
P.S. The great thing about this recipe is you can modify it any way you like. I like adding a nut butter, like my homemade primal nutella or an almond butter, to the egg yolk mixture before I add the egg whites.
I made pizza with almond flour and coconut base, used pesto sauce (I try to avoid nightshades in general), with any topping and cheese melted over worked great: http://oliverhadfield.blogspot.com/2010/11/paleo-pizza-perfected.html
More recently I try to avoid too much coconut or almond flour, plantain flour is available here, and works pretty well, but I don't cook like this.
The main problem with paleo diet, is the lack of "vehicles" for other foods, like bread is a great vehicle, for putting other foods on and just taking away. If you are using coconut flour as a substitute for normal flour, don't bother - use it rarely.
ITS GREAT! I love love love it! You can make anything you can make with normal flour. Coconut flour is not a grain so thats a bonus! Everything you make if fluffy and fabulous! And you don't need to eat much when you use it because it has crazy fiber in it! :) You can use it for a protein shake! I have two recipes for you!
I have a great waffle recipe! It uses A LOT of eggs, so beware. :P
Makes 4 waffles
1/3 Coconut flour 1/2 cup Oganic Plain Almond Milk (Can get kind of $$$, normal milk works fine) 6 Free-Range Eggs 1 TBS Olive Oil 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract (Make sure you read the ingredients on it. Most of them are fake.) 1/2 tsp Baking Powder 1 TBS Agave or Organic Honey 1/4 of Unsweetend Apple Sauce (You can wait to use that for your topping.)
Wisk all ingredients until smooth. Poor on waffle iron for 5 minutes and thing wala! Its ready.
They are so yummy! I use my homemade jelly on top with some homemade peanut sometimes too.
There are no measurements for this. Just do it as it gets to where you want it to be.
Coconut Palm Sugar
Mix the flour, sugar, and powder together in a bowl. (use about 1/2 of cocoa powder. That is the biggest measurement.)
Heat up on the stove the oil and honey. (Not too much of both ingredients because the mixture needs to be dry, this is just for taste.)
Mix wet with dry and put into plastic bag until use.
Sorry that it isn't very exact, but it worked for me! Let me know what you think.
For Xmas one of my relatives bought me Bruce Fife's "Cooking with Coconut Flour". The introductory chapters are very informative and interesting. So far have only tried the muffin recipe which actually tasted better than what I can recall wheat based muffins tasting like (been Paleo for a little over a year). In general, recipes call for considerably more liquid (as others have mentioned), small amounts of coconut flour (measured in tablespoons instead of cups), have much higher egg content (a good thing IMHO, 2x to 3x regular recipes) and call for butter or coconut oil. The author also indicates in each recipe how low in sugar one might go, often gives stevia substitution directions, and suggests dried sugurcane juice and other minimally refined sugars over highly refined sugars.
The latest studies seem to indicate that agave and even stevia still have strong effects on the insulin system. Therefore these types of foods should be occasional treats, or transitional foods, not staples.
I make pancakes with it every couple weeks or so- about 1/2 cup almond butter, 2 mashed bananas, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and a few TBS of coconut flour (the soda & flour make them hold together a little better when flipping). Sometimes I add chopped apples and top them with applesauce & cinnamon; reminds me of my mom's German pancakes :) There are some coconut flour ideas at elanaspantry.com also.