Keto diet explained in one sentence is pretty straightforward: One has to limit their intake of carbohydrates as low as possible and start burning fat as their primary fuel source. Coconut flour may help with that.
But what to do if you have a sweet tooth? You can't just eat eggs and bacon as a dessert. You need to prepare yourself a real keto dessert.
Yes, the keto diet is much more than just eggs and bacon! With a bit of imagination, you can make a keto version of almost any meal. But a dessert can be the trickiest course because you have to find a proper alternative to all those carbs in flours and sugars. Fat is obviously not a problem. Hooray!
So today we are going to talk about coconut flour and how to use it in the keto diet, especially in keto desserts we all worship. We already discussed exchanging sugar for erythritol in our "Erythritol, the Sweet Ketogenic Diet Ingredient" article, so do check it out as well.
What is coconut flour?
Coconut flour is a low-carb, gluten-free baking alternative to wheat flour. It's obviously a good source of fiber and protein. One ounce (on average) contains 107 calories, 3 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of protein, 11 grams of fibers, and 4 grams of sugars. According to the 2003 study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, increased amounts of coconut flour in baked goods are useful in lowering the glycemic index of the foods. So even if you are not a strict keto or low-carb follower, you should at least substitute some of your wheat flour with coconut flour in your next cookie batch and try to maintain a healthy level of blood sugar. Coconut flour is also rich in vitamins and minerals. Manganese, Calcium, Selenium, and Potassium for example, which is also good for you.
How is coconut flour made?
Manufacturers use pulp of coconut to produce coconut flour. In fact, coconut flour is a byproduct made during the coconut milk making process. To make coconut milk, producers have to soak the coconut meat first. They process it and press the fluid out. The pulp that remains is later used and ground to what we know as coconut flour. Zero waste for the win!
Defatted coconut flour
Defatting is another step in producing coconut flour. Like the word suggests - fat is removed, and the coconut flour ends up not just less fatty but drier as well. Do note, though, that removing the fat also means removing THE GOOD fat.
Another "exotic" version of coconut is desiccated coconut. This is unsweetened and very finely ground coconut with almost no moisture. The main and most crucial difference between defatted coconut flour and desiccated coconut is the amount of fat. In defatted coconut flour, as the name suggests, the fat has been removed, whereas, in desiccated coconut, the fat stays. Desiccated coconut technically is not flour, but some do use it as flour. You can use it to sprinkle it over your next favorite keto cookies or keto coconut cake. Go ahead and make some homemade keto coconut butter out of the desiccated coconut - it's easy!
How and when to use coconut flour?
This can be a bit tricky, but it's not rocket science. If you have never prepared anything with coconut flour, don't just throw away your wheat flour and substitute it with coconut flour, because you will probably fail. Start with already established recipes and observe how it behaves and reacts with other ingredients. Do help yourself with the suggestions listed below.
5 things you need to know when baking with coconut flour:
- Coconut flour does not behave the same way as wheat flours, and you can not substitute it in a 1:1 ratio. As a rule of thumb, swap about ⅓ - ¼ cup coconut flour for 1 cup of regular flour.
- Coconut flour is super absorbent because it's so high in fiber. You can provide extra moisture by adding more eggs, oils, or other liquids if needed.
- Coconut flour is clumpy. To avoid getting clumps when using coconut flour, sift it and mix it really well with other ingredients. And then repeat and mix everything a little more.
- Coconut flour is dense and can be dry. To avoid dryness, add extra eggs or other moisture.
- You can use coconut flour as a substitute when frying or sauteing.
How not to use coconut flour?
A fellow blogger has a great article about it - It's not you, It's coconut flour. 19 times coconut flour destroyed something delicious. Her readers tried to substitute coconut flour for something else, but things didn't work out as planned.
Coconut flour - conclusion
Coconut flour is keto-friendly and is a beautiful ingredient. It is worthy of use in your kitchen. Check our keto dessert recipes section and give it a try. You will not regret it!
SYLVIE POUCLET says
Bonjour, si je fais un gateau qui contient (exemple): 200 g de farine de blé par combien de farine de coco dois je remplacer la farine de blé et est ce que ç marche pour tout les gateaux? Merci
Unfortunately, I don't have a straightforward answer. Some recipes might work well with coconut flour, some not. In general, you can try replacing the wheat four with ¼ amount of coconut flour and still add some more moisture (e.g. egg). It sometimes takes a lot of trial and error to develop a low-carb recipe. Good luck!
Thanks! However, I was hoping from the newsletter click thru this article would have some successful recipes in it. Do you have coconut flour as a tag on your blog? I found a few but those all seemed to have the dreaded (allergic) almond flour in them too. Best wishes to you and your readers.
That's a good point; I'll look into tagging coconut flour minus nut allergens.
Best wishes to you, too.
Maria Giulia Gambino says
Ciao!Volevo chiederti se è vero che usare troppe mandorle o farina è dannoso per la eccessiva quantità doi omega 6 e se la farina di cocco ne contiene meno...Grazie!
Hi. That is a good question.
It is true that almonds are relatively high in Omega 6 (but still lower than walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecans). Still, these nuts have many other beneficial micronutrients that kind of outplay the "bad" fat. I see that eating a handful of almonds a day or a Tbsp or so of almond flour in a dessert should not be worrisome. In the end, when baking, you usually put a cup or two of almond flour into the whole batch and then maybe eat just a portion of the batch in a day. Moderation is key pretty much everywhere.
Going back to Omega 6, coconut flour doesn't contain it, but it is less baking-friendly when used alone. It's great to combine almond and coconut flour for best results in many baked keto goods.
Then again, if you're worried about the type of fats in almonds and almond flour, you can buy fat-reduced almond flour. Less fat means less Omega 6 and lower probability for the fat to go rancid.
John Hall says
Being relatively new (5 years) cooking and baking, I use a lot of almond flour, but am intrigued by the challenge presented by seasoned bakers who are casting great shadows over my desire to use coconut flour in recipes. I would stay with almond flour, but my lady friend persists in gifting me with bags of coconut flour, and what else can I do but cut the amount of flour by a bunch and add more eggs and oil, etc., to try to salvage some otherwise good recipes. Unlike those finicky bakers who throw the whole mess out, I will eat what I bake. The price of ingredients is too high to feed to the raccoons in the garbage.
My Sweet Keto says
Hi, John! Thank you for the comment. I hear you very well. But there are (keto) recipes out there that work very well with a great amount of coconut flour. We never throw a batch out either, no matter how bad it turns out. Almond flour is too precious.
Chef William says
Great article, I find that some recipes work will with coconut flour while others are better with almond flour or a mix of the two. Thanks for sharing now I need to bake something.
My Sweet Keto says
True. And sometimes it takes a few batches of a newly developed recipe just to find the perfect-suiting flour or the combination of flours. Thank you for the feedback!