Gluten Free Baking with Coconut Flour And a Bread Recipe

Gluten Free Baking with Coconut Flour

I love coconut. Whether it’s the oil, the flavor in coffee, or the flakes, I love everything about it. But when I saw a container of coconut flour on the shelf at one of the grocery stores, I thought “baking?”  I’d never tried it. I have several friends who are eating gluten free these days, so I decided to give gluten free baking a try.

All flours are not equal!

When I started researching coconut flour on the internet, I found that you can’t just substitute coconut flour for wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio. Your product will end up far too dense. This is because coconut flour is very absorbent. You can substitute coconut flour at the rate of ¼ cup of coconut flour to 12 cups of wheat flour. And you need to use a great deal more liquid as well. A good rule of thumb is 6 eggs for every cup of coconut flour plus a cup of liquid. Yes, really! I thought my first try was going to be a failure – I’d never cooked like this. I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it, and everything I’d been taught about baking with wheat flour went right out the window.

Why gluten free baking with coconut flour?

Coconut flour is not only economical to use, but it’s also really good for you. I purchased a 2.2 pound container for less than $4.00, and it will last a long time at this rate. The amount of nutritional value is staggering. In 3.5 ounces there is 8.7 grams of fat – good fat that is easily used by the body. This fat contains no cholesterol. There is also only 80 mg of sodium, 38.5 grams of fiber and 19 grams of protein. There are 64 grams of carbohydrates, but they are a complex carb, not refined like white flours. It also contains 5% of the daily recommendation of iron for an adult. Coconut flour is high in lauric acid, which is thought to help the immune system and thyroid. It’s also high in manganese, which contributes to bone health, the nervous system, and helps to control blood sugar levels.

Coconut Flour Bread Recipe

Here’s a recipe for a quick bread made with coconut flour. There’s no baking powder or baking soda, yet it’s extremely moist, light, and tender.

Ingredients

Directions

Beat the eggs, honey, and liquid. Set aside. Sift the salt with the flour in a large bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture, ¼ cup at a time. Beat well, don’t be afraid to over beat. When ready it will look like a thick paste. Pour into a large greased loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool and slice. I serve mine slightly warm with rhubarb blackberry sauce and fresh whipped cream.

You can make many substitutions with this recipe. Try using pureed pumpkin for part of the liquid, adding ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Or try adding fresh or frozen blueberries, or maybe raspberries. For the liquid try milk, water, or even kefir or yogurt. For the oil part try coconut oil, safflower oil or something exotic like macadamia nut oil. There is no end to what you can do.

Other uses for coconut flour

For cooking

Even though you can’t substitute coconut flour at the same rate as wheat flour for baking, there are other things you can do with it for cooking. Try using as a coating for your chicken or chops, like you would flour. For this you can use it just as you would wheat flour. It adds a subtle sweet nuttiness to your meats. You can add a teaspoon or so to your smoothies in the morning. Just remember that it is highly absorbent and must be added slowly. You might find that ½ teaspoon is enough. I’ve used it to thicken stews, though it must be beaten with water first, then forced into submission. For the most part, in gravies and such, I’d stick with wheat flour, as coconut flour is harder to work with.

For beauty

And, as a soap and natural products maker, I love using it as a mask. I take ¼ cup and put it in a coffee grinder. Then I add some herbs, depending on how my skin feels. If it’s really dirty, I use dried mint and comfrey. If it’s feeling dry, I add dried plantain and mallow, and when it’s feeling overstressed, I add dried chamomile, calendula, and lemon balm. I give that a few turns in a spice grinder and place the powder in a sealable bowl. Then when I want to use it, I take out a tablespoon or so and place it in a glass bowl. To the powdered mixture I add honey, mashed avocado, mashed banana, beaten egg, or even milk or water. Start with a small amount and add more as you go along. (It could be anywhere from ¼ cup to 1 cup of these ingredients.) When it gets to be a thick paste, apply it to your face in a thin layer and let it dry. Rinse it off and follow with a moisturizer if necessary.

Have you used coconut flour?

What’s your favorite use for it? Please share in the comments section below!

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Comments

  1. I’m curious why you use 12 eggs in the recipe after saying that a good rule of thumb is 6 eggs for every 1 cup of coconut flour, and the recipe calls for 1 and 1/2 cups of flour. I expected 9 eggs due to your ratio. Is it because you have experimented with it and found it needed more eggs?

    • Hi Nancy, you’re right in the calculation. But when I tried it with the coconut flour I used, I thought it needed more moisture, so I used more eggs. The first time I tried it, it was dense, so I though more eggs for leavening. If denseness is ok with you, you could use some oil or something like applesauce.

  2. I would like to know if you can substitute for some of the eggs like apple sauce? It seems like a lot of eggs for the small amount of flour

    • It is a lot of eggs, Lia, but I felt they were needed to make it less dense. You certainly could substitute applesauce, or some other fruit puree, but since there is no baking soda or powder, some eggs are needed for leavening.

  3. The recipe indicates the liquid should be have water, half oil. If you are substituting pumpkin, zucchini, etc. is that oil or water?

    • That’s a good question, Diane, and the answer is both or either. Confusing, I know. You could use applesauce, or pumpkin or zucchini for the water part and it would turn out about the same. If you use it as the oil part, like I’ve used applesauce instead of oil in brownies, then it might be sticky, but it can be done. Hope this clears up any confusion.

  4. Very timely, i saw Coconut flour in our local super market 4 the first time and wondered what it is like to cook with. Agree with others, a photo of the bread would be great. Thanks for sharing.

    • It’s hard to substitute for all of the eggs, Natasha, but you could replace some of them with fruit puree. Eggs are needed for leavening in this recipe. I haven’t tried it with baking powder or soda yet, but it may work well. Will work on it this weekend!

  5. I was wondering all the same questions that were asked above, I really want to try coconut flour but am not big on eggs as I have had allergies to them and have to only eat them sparingly. is there substitutes youve tried?

  6. “You can substitute coconut flour at the rate of ¼ cup of coconut flour to 12 cups of wheat flour. ”

    Is this accurate? That seems like an awfully small amount go cocnut flour for a large amount of wheat flour.

  7. Hi, is that a typo on the substitution? Seems like it should be 1/4 cup coconut flour for each 1 cup of wheat flour instead of 12 cups. That would be more in line with the recommendations I’ve seen elsewhere. Thanks for the info, I’ll have to try out the recipe with pumpkin.

  8. Hey everyone! Once more, I’m very sorry about the typo on the flour conversion. It should read 1/4 cup coconut flour to 1 cup of wheat flour. And yes, I did use 12 eggs, when the calculation should be closer to 9. I’m going to have to try it with less eggs and baking soda or powder and see how it goes. I have a lot of squash now and pumpkins starting to ripen, so that will be next!

  9. Bob’s Red Mill almond meal/flour has a wonderful recipe on the package for an almond cake that calls for coconut flour. The batter comes out looking dry, but the magic happens in the oven! It is the most moist cake I have ever tasted and it is a very satisfying dessert!

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