Monday, August 9, 2010

Baking With Coconut Flour

What's the one thing that people miss the most when they start the SCD? It's simple really: baked goods. When you cut out grains and starches baked goods pretty much become a thing of the past. A very fond memory. And for me, often a temptation that can lead me to fall off the wagon. Enter Almond Flour, the hero of almost every Specific Carbohydrate Diet Cookbook. Suddenly you see muffins and pancakes, and pizza crust and you think "I might be able to do this after all".

But if you're like me, almond flour is not the hero of your fairy tale cookbook. My stomach doesn't like it, the texture is often a problem, and frankly I just don't like the taste. Not to mention it's often too moist for things that should turn out crispy.

Just when I was about to despair of EVER having another blueberry muffin I discovered Coconut Flour at The Spunky Coconut (one of my favorite blogs about food). Kelly uses a wide variety of gluten-free flours in her baking creations, not all of which are SCD legal so be careful if you try one. But it prompted to me to do some research.

I found out that coconut flour is SCD legal though it is considered advanced. It's also quite healthy for you. But be warned coconut flour has a lot of fiber in it. So if you try it you might want to start slow.

Nutrition Facts from Tropical Traditions Brand of Coconut Flour:

Why do I like the coconut flour?  Where to begin?  Despite it's high fiber content it's much easier for me to digest.  It has a texture that's MUCH closer to all those wheat based baked goods I loved.  It has a neutral flavor - no it doesn't taste like coconut.  And it pairs well in baking with nut flours.

There are some challenges to keep in mind when using it, however.  It is a very dry flour.  You'll need to adjust the amount of wet ingredients that you use in order to get a moist and fluffy texture.  It can also be very crumbly due to it's lack of moisture.  So most recipes using coconut flour also require a lot of eggs and oil to keep the end result from being too crumbly.

Baking with the coconut flour is a totally different experience from baking with nut flours.  It can take some practice.  But everything I've made with coconut flour is leaps and bounds above what I've created with nut flours in taste and texture.  So I think it's worth it.

Three places to get coconut flour:
Tropical Traditions
Nuts Online
Bob's Red Mill

I've tried the product from Tropical Traditions and Bob's Red Mill.  So far I prefer the Tropical Traditions for price and quality.  I'll be trying the Nuts Online product the next time I purchase.

And to get you started, my favorite coconut flour recipe so far is the Coconut Donuts from Comfy Belly.  I made them as cupcakes and they are truly yummy!


Kat said...

Yep that's the same experience I had with almond flour vs coconut flour. I much prefer the coconut and my stomach does too! Have you tried making macaroons with the shredded coconut? So delicious!

Christy said...

Thanks, Kat! Glad I'm not alone in my preference for the coconut flour. I haven't tried making macaroons yet. Macaroons intimidated me even before the SCD. But I've seen some really yummy looking recipes on some of the blogs lately and I've been thinking about it a lot. If you've got a good recipe let me know!

Unknown said...

I am only new top the scd diet and i feel starving all the time! I think this is because of no carbohydrates! Did you use almond and coconut for straight up?

Heather Dee said...

@Colour Studio :

This happened for both myself and my partner. We were both eating a lot of carbs, starches, and sugars prior to SCD (rice with every meal because we felt it settled our stomach, sugary snacks a night to curb our relentless sugar cravings), which led to candida overgrowth. Candida overgrowth had caused me to develop chronic inflammation, and my partner has been struggling with Crohns disease for nearly his entire life, which he believes is at least 90% caused by candida. Since SCD, both of our symptoms have improved (I've been on it for about 6-7 weeks, though I tried to "cheat" around week 5-6 and started to relapse, so I am back on it 100% again and threw out everything bad in my kitchen. He's been eliminating as much sugar, carbs, and starches as he can (his "safe food" diet is very limited) and replacing with SCD recipes for about 3-4 weeks now, and has been experiencing a ton of candida die-off, is able to digest certain well cooked veggies again, and has avoided all but one bleeding flare-up, which is the best "healthy streak" he's been on for 10+ years.

Anyway, back to the hunger - are you primarily hungry for sweets, baked goods, bread, potatoes, etc? If so, that is candida (which we ALL have, in some quantities) causing sugar cravings. If you are able to tough it out and stick to the scd, with minimal fruit/honey, the sugar cravings should start subsiding after a week and a half. By week 2 I barely had any interest in sweets and bread anymore. If you are feeling an overwhelming hunger, try snacking on nuts, eggs, and other safe proteins. Chicken croquettes may be a nice safe snack to store in your fridge if you can tolerate the ingredients. Protein is key to satisfying sugar cravings/a persistent hunger even after eating a big meal without eating sugar, though. It WILL get better if you go cold turkey, kick it like any other addiction. For 30 years I thought I needed a bagel/toast/potatoes for breakfast or else I felt shaky, hungry, and miserable. I always thought I loved carbs and could never do without them. I now feel like I do not need carbs aside from what I get in fruit, veggies, and nuts. I kicked my caffeine addiction without even trying and have energy levels comparable to when I was 10+rs younger. The hunger has mostly subsided and I feel satisfied with 3 normal meals a day, and maybe a handful of nuts or a slice of almond zucchini bread or something similar.

The point is, do not get discouraged if you feel too hungry when starting this diet, as long as you're eating 3 well balanced meals with decent portion sizes a day. It will pass in a week or two and you'll feel better than ever.