Whether you are new to the Paleo Diet or not, you may be familiar with coconut flour. Even if you have never used it yourself, you have probably heard of some of the benefits of this versatile gluten-free flour.
Coconut flour is exactly what it sounds like – flour made from coconut. It may seem impossible to create flour out of a brown, woody coconut but it is simpler than you think. Coconut flour is actually a byproduct of the process through which coconut milk is made. To make coconut milk, the liquid is extract from the coconut meat using intense pressure. During this process, bits of coconut meat are left behind. In order to make coconut flour, those bits are dried and then ground into a fine powder.
Benefits of Coconut Flour
For followers of the Paleo Diet, the main benefit of coconut flour lies in the fact that it is both gluten- and grain-free. This flour is high in both fiber and protein – it also has a naturally sweet flavor.
Many grains need to be soaked because, due to high concentrations of phytic acid, they interfere with the absorption of minerals. Another benefit of coconut flour is that it does not affect mineral availability. No soaking is necessary – coconut flour is safe and ready to use.
If you like what you’ve read about coconut flour thus far, what’s stopping you from trying it out? When you do, keep these valuable tips in mind:
Tips for Using Coconut Flour
1. Coconut flour can be used as a filler in meatball and meatloaf recipes but you'll need to double the liquids or broth in the recipe to ensure binding.
2. Keep in mind that coconut flour is very high in fiber – dramatically increasing your intake of dietary fiber can upset your digestive system so don’t eat too much at once!
3. You only need about ¼ cup of coconut flour per 1 cup of traditional flour in recipes. Don’t make the mistake of making a 1:1 swap.
4. Coconut flour is incredibly absorbent – plan to add an extra 1 cup of liquid for each 1 cup coconut flour.
5. Because it doesn’t contain gluten like many flours, coconut flour doesn’t stick together as well as traditional flour – this means you’ll have to use extra eggs, about 6 eggs per cup of coconut flour.
6. To give your final product a lighter, fluffier texture, try separating the eggs and whip the egg whites before adding them – this will help to combat the density of coconut flour.
7. Coconut flour can be used to dredge meat and vegetables before frying.
8. This type of flour can be a little clumpy – before using it, sift it once or twice and then beat it thoroughly with your other ingredients.
9. Try adding pureed fruits or vegetable to your recipes for baked goods to balance out the density and dryness of coconut flour.
10. Though soaking coconut flour isn’t necessary, it can help to improve the texture of your final product – whisk together the coconut flour with the liquid ingredients in your recipe and let them sit for 15 minutes.
If you have ever tried using gluten-free flours, you may know just how tricky they can be. It may take you some time to get used to how coconut flour works so, to make your own life easier, start out with recipes that are designed for coconut flour – wait until you get a feel for it before you try substituting it in your family recipes.
Traditional white flour has been processed to the point where it is easy to use for most recipes but it doesn’t contain many vitamins and minerals. Even “enriched” flours are not necessarily healthy because the nutrients may not be in a form the body can absorb. Plus it contains gluten which can cause all sorts of health problems.
Coconut flour, on the other hand, is completely natural and a great source of dietary fiber, protein, manganese, vitamin C and lauric acid, a heart-healthy fat that helps promote good skin health.
Coconut flour is an incredibly versatile ingredient but there are a few things you need to know before you try to use it. Once you understand the basics about coconut flour – the fact that it is denser and more absorbent than traditional flour – you are ready to start experimenting.
This wonderful gluten-free ingredient can be used to make pancakes, cookies, fried chicken and more. Don’t forget to pick up your free weekly paleo meal plan to get some ideas!
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