Did you know coconut is technically a fruit!?
This means it is very low in anti-nutrients and doesn't require soaking, like all grains, nuts, and seeds.
What's also special about coconut?
Coconut flour is the only low-oxalate, GAPS-friendly flour!
This is a major boon to my family! In addition to following GAPS, 2 of us are on a low-oxalate diet. As a result, we do most of our baking with coconut flour. And I have come to enjoy it more and more as I have healed.
Coconut Flour Is Unique
Unlike nut flours, it absorbs liquid well. And unlike glutinous flours, it is not sticky.
It is also fairly bland, albeit with a mild coconut flavor. People who don't care for coconut still eat coconut flour baked goods without complaint.
It is made from the fiber leftover from making coconut milk. This is then ground to a powder. At this point, most of the oil is gone.
A Few Warnings
Coconut flour has a high fiber content. If you have an irritated gut, this can make constipation and diarrhea worse.
Although conventional wisdom touts fiber as an aid for constipation, many people experience the opposite problem. They keep increasing their fiber and wondering why their problems are getting worse! (Believe me, I know all about this.)
Also, keep in mind that coconuts are often processed with nuts, which can be an allergy concern.
And finally, if you're on GAPS, remember that baked goods, fruit, and other “treats” should be kept to 20% or less of the diet. In other words, don't get carried away! Continue to focus on the healing foods like broth, meats, veggies, and ferments. Add baked goods as an occasional treat.
Cooking & Baking With Coconut Flour
In many recipes that call for wheat flour, coconut flour works just as well! These can include coating fried chicken or browning a roast. Use it in the same ratio as the original recipe. You may have to accommodate a bit of extra sweetness to your recipe.
Although I don't like to use coconut flour to thicken gravies and sauces (I think it makes a gritty texture), some people do. If you want to try it out, know that coconut flour is much more absorbent than wheat flour. Start with about 1/4 as much and work up from there.
When baking with it, use quite a bit of egg! I have yet to come across egg-free coconut flour recipes. The eggs bind the ingredients together and provide moisture.
Don't cut back on fatty or liquid ingredients — such as coconut milk or yogurt — in baked good recipes. This will result in dry or crumbly baked goods.
Coconut flour absorbs more liquid than other flours — but not as quickly. It takes a few minutes. So, if making a recipe that seems too thin, give it 5 more minutes to thicken up before adding more flour. If you still need to add more flour, do so in very small amounts at a time. Remember, coconut flour is 4x more absorbent than wheat flour!
If you find the texture of coconut flour baked goods to be dry (as I do), try using dates as sweetener! My friends and family don't notice the dry texture like I do, but dates help a lot, in my opinion.
Converting Recipes To Use Coconut Flour
Usually this is very hard to do. In most cases, it doesn't work. Your best bet is to find recipes that call for coconut flour in the first place.
However, the ideal wheat flour recipe to convert is one that calls for a lot of eggs. Take out the wheat flour and replace it with coconut flour to 1/4 of the original amount of wheat flour. That's how I converted my husband's Grandmother's Hootenanny Pancakes recipe to be GAPS-friendly.
Choosing Coconut Flour
Although I have not used every brand in every recipe, they all seem to work interchangeably.
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My Favorite Coconut Flour Recipes
Here are some of my favorite coconut flour recipes.
Do you know how to bake with coconut flour? What are your favorite coconut flour recipes? Let's make the comments a great resource for finding recipes!
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