Type 2 Diabetes Guide

How to Bake With Coconut Flour

A Low-Carbohydrate, High-Fiber Alternative that Helps to Naturally Manage Blood Sugar Levels

Carbohydrates like breads, pastas, and rice are difficult foods for people with diabetes. They tend to cause blood sugar levels to rise rapidly ("spike") and this elevated level can persist for hours. Many of us love breads, though, and would love to be able to enjoy them more often. instead of wheat flour can help us enjoy breads more frequently, and is a .

Why Not Just Use Whole Grain Flour?

Many of us have been bombarded with messages that whole wheat or whole grain flours are much healthier for us. That may be, however, when it comes to their effect on blood sugar levels, the reality is that there may not be much (if any) difference. If you haven't tried it, after consuming a roll made with refined white wheat flour, vs. one made with whole wheat or whole grain flour.

Pastries, cakes, and other goodies are doubly hard because now our bodies also have to contend with sugar as well.

There is where dietary substitutions come in. In this case, coconut flour is a tasty way to enjoy many foods that normally call for wheat flour.

What is Coconut Flour?

Coconut flour is essentially ground-up, dried coconut meat. It comes in a powder-like substance and is low in carbohydrates and higher in protein than regular flour. It's also super-high in fiber, gluten-free and easily digestible.

How is Coconut Flour Beneficial to People with Type 2 Diabetes?

The extremely high fiber content helps to make you feel full faster. And because baking with coconut flour requires a lot of eggs, there's extra protein too - another way to feel fuller, faster (eggs are used as a binder to substitute for gluten and provide structure to the baked product). Feeling full helps us to eat less, and is an important part of controlling blood sugar levels and overall .

Coconut flour is also low in carbohydrates (it's somewhere around 60-65% fiber). That means it won't cause blood sugar levels to rise as high, or as fast. This is what makes coconut flour a great ingredient to use in .

Does It Taste Like Flour?

No. There's no getting around it, there will be a difference in flavor and texture when baking with coconut flour compared to baking with regular wheat flour. Coconut flour contains a huge amount of fiber - and that makes it absorbs a lot of liquid. Coconut flour is also gluten-free. That means it doesn't rise easily, like wheat flour does. Sometimes people complain that baked goods made with coconut flour are fairly dense or taste too 'eggy'. While they won't ever taste the same as baked goods made with wheat, some experimentation to get the right balance of liquids and coconut flour will result in some wonderfully tasty treats.

Does It Taste or Smell Like Coconuts?

There is a subtle taste of coconut in coconut flour and a somewhat noticeable smell, depending on the brand purchased. Some people immediately notice it, while others don't notice it at all. Chances are that neither the taste nor the smell will be particularly noticeable when combined with other ingredients.

 

Where Do I Buy It?

Organic coconut flour can be found in the health food stores or in the natural foods section of some grocery stores. You can also buy coconut flour online. It may initially seem a bit expensive (especially since the bags it tends to come in are pretty small) - but a little bit goes a long ways.

Coconut Flour Baking Tips

Do not substitute coconut flour one-for-one for regular flour. Coconut flour requires more liquid (due to its high fiber content) and additional eggs (to help with the rise of baked goods, since coconut flour is gluten-free). Every recipe will behave differently when substituting coconut flour. There's no way around it, you will need to experiment to get the texture / taste right, or use a recipe that was specifically formulated for coconut flour. Here are a few general tips:

  • Approximately 1/3 cup of coconut flour can be substituted for one cup of regular wheat flour.

  • For every cup of coconut flour, use an additional 4 to 5 eggs. For example: if the recipe originally calls for 2 eggs, and you substitute 1/3 cup of coconut flour for one cup of regular flour, you would use a total of 3 or 4 eggs.

    If you don't want to use so many eggs, consider making an 'substitute egg' out of chia seeds and hot water. It doesn't matter if you choose white or black chia seeds. Simply soak one tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of hot water. Let sit and cool until it forms a 'gel' (put the mixture into the refrigerator to speed up the process). You can use this gel in place of one egg. Chia seeds are a super-food that's gluten-free, grain-free, and highly nutritious. You can find them at health food stores or buy them online.

  • Extra liquid will probably be needed. Coconut flour absorbs liquids like crazy since it contains a very high amount of fiber. Start by adding an equal amount of liquid as coconut flour. For example, if you use 1/3 cup of coconut flour, add another 1/3 cup of liquid. This liquid is in addition to the liquid already called for in the original recipe. You might need to add more... but do it a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.

  • It doesn't have to be 'all or nothing' - you can replace some or all of the regular wheat flour in a recipe with coconut flour. Often times, it works better to replace some of the regular flour with coconut flour, and replace the remainder of the regular flour with something like spelt (another wonderful, healthy, and natural diet alternative that helps keep blood sugar levels more stable).

  • Use a blender to incorporate air into the liquids, which will help a little bit with the rise of the baked product. Coconut flour is gluten-free and won't rise like wheat flour - the blender will help this! Put all the eggs into the blender to whip some air into them. You can add the other liquids / wet ingredients too. Then pour it out and mix in the coconut flour and other dry ingredients.

  • Coconut flour sometimes clumps. Break up the clumps before mixing it in.

  • Once you've mixed in the coconut flour, let the mixture sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquid.

  • Have fun experimenting! Baking with coconut flour often requires lots of tweaking - even stuff like the altitude you live at can have an effect on the results of baked goods. Sometimes you need to use a little more or a little less coconut flour. Once you know what texture you need when you're mixing up the batter or the dough, you will be able to figure out how to adjust the amount of coconut flour or liquids needed.

Coconut Flour Recipes

You can adapt any recipe to use coconut flour, although it will likely take a few tries (or more than a few!) to get the proportions correct. Coconut flour is unfortunately not an easy substitute for regular wheat flour - but it's healthier and worth the trouble. There are lots of wonderful coconut flour recipes; following a recipe is much easier until you get the hang of how to do the substitutions.

Here are a couple of favorites to get you started:

Baking with coconut flour can take a bit of experimentation and time until you develop a 'feel' for it. Don't give up! Baked goods can still be a part of your diet even when you have . And baked goods made with coconut flour are even better than the ones traditionally made with wheat flour - coconut-flour baked goods are delicious, nutritious, and a great source of both fiber and protein.

 

 

The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience, and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual situation should be directed to your doctor.