Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Adventures In Coconut Flour.

Aaron and I have been exploring a culinary world free of gluten for the past several months. Not for us, but for our daughter. She doesn't have any aversions to gluten (that we know of), but if there's even a small chance that something we do can maybe lower her risk for developing type 1 diabetes, then we definitely want to do that maybe-thing when possible. Consuming gluten before the age of 12 months appears to be one of those maybe-things, so okay, sure. There are plenty of good things to eat that don't have gluten.

Sadly, this bread I made with coconut flour was not one of them.

Behold, a doorstop

It sounded so promising; I scoured Pinterest and found a popular recipe that inferred good results if I sifted the flour twice; I sifted the sift right out of that flour and it helped exactly zero percent.

I'm slightly ashamed to say that I took one bite and had to spit it out (I know, so dramatic). SO BAD. Super dense, super dry, super no thank you.

This made me sad, because as my friend Bigfoot puts it:
Before D, Bigfoot love baking for feeling of make something out of nothing. Now w. use alternative flours, more like feeling of Make Something Out of Eight Dollars. And since almond flour so dear, not want make anything crappy. Ever.
 I did get a couple of recommended recipes from friends to try in the future, but I wonder: if you've used this stuff, what's the secret? Was there a secret password I wasn't told? I have half of the bag left and am now a bit shy about trying to make edible things out of it.

Good thing the Rabbit girl likes her fruit and veggies; she doesn't know what she's missing.


  1. Try adding xanthan gum. Also, I know certain gluten free flours are better for certain things (i.e. bread versus cookies versus muffins, etc). I use Bob's Red Mill All Purpose flour for most gluten free things and it works magnificently (especially with the addition of xanthan gum). Tastes terrible before baking though, so don't lick the spoon.

  2. The first time my son had a bite of gluten was his first birthday when he had a bit of cake. He screamed the whole night long. I'm actually quite thankful his reaction to gluten was so obvious. It made me aware of my own gluten intolerance, and like you said, anything to lower their risk for T1D.

    The trick to coconut flour is to practice really hard over and over again until you start getting a feel for how it works. "Yay". And also finding the best recipes from the best sources. I recommend The Paleo Mom for gluten free recipes.

    Also, do not let coconut flour be the only flour in your recipe. It really is a very dense flour and sucks up liquids like nothing else, that particular recipe probably needed a few more eggs. I make a cheese bisquit with coconut flour being the only flour, and they are yummy that day, but the next they are waaay to dense. I usually avoid using solo coconut flour in other baking.

  3. I trust Comfy Belly and Elena's Pantry for recipes. Very simple and always good results. Elena's brownies made with a jar of almond butter ($12) are fantastic and doesn't that sound nutritious too?

  4. I am a currently pregnant T1D (love your blog), and just wondering--can we pass the gluten on through breast milk, or is the concern just feeding it to them directly?

    I realize you're not a doctor, just trying to see what you are doing. :)

    1. Hi! While I'm not aware of all the research out there, I did see one study in mice that potentially links gluten in the mother's diet during pregnancy to an increase in gut bacteria, which plays a role in immune system development (so, to me, it seems like a fairly weak link to T1D, but that's me). But again - one study, in mice, etc. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/15/gluten-free-type-1-diabetes_n_5330735.html

  5. I've baked with coconut flour and almond flour, and different brands do vary and have different results. Sometimes a coconut flour can have higher fiber amounts or be more absorbent (coconut flour recipes need lots of eggs and liquid!). I guess I would recommend finding a food blogger that uses the same brand of coconut flour that you do? Some recipes probably aren't as particular, though. I've made the chocolate coconut flour cupcakes on this site: http://www.alldayidreamaboutfood.com That was my daughter's birthday cupcake on her first birthday (no espresso buttercream, though, just vanilla!). She uses Bob's Red Mill coconut flour, I believe.

  6. I will put my vote in for Bob's Red Mill products as well. I use the almond flour and the all purpose flour. I haven't used the coconut flour - mostly because I don't like the taste of coconut so why would I add it? - so no advice on that part.

  7. Coconut flour needs like...4x the liquid of a nut flour. I think. You know what else is good? The cashew flour from Trader Joe's. I use it interchangeably w. almond flour, and I think it costs a little bit less.

  8. Coconut flour makes fantastic pancakes. One of my favorites is with mashed banana and walnuts. Goes well with the coconut flavor.

  9. Coconut flour makes quite dense things, even if you put a lot of liquid into them. I add psyllium husk powder into my baking so that they have more of a bread-like texture. I highly recommend checking out Maria Emmerich's blog at mariamindbodyhealth.com. Her recipes are FABULOUS and she has a knack for making low-carb using things that I never thought of. :)