Baking with coconut adds all the health benefits of using coconut in it’s various forms.
Coconut is naturally low in digestible carbohydrates, contains no gluten, is cheaper than most other nut flowers, is loaded with health promoting fiber and important nutrients, and taste terrific. Few people are allergic to coconut.
Coconut flour is made from finely ground, dried, and defatted coconut. Coconut flour has far more fiber than any other flour. We’ve all heard of using wheat bran as a supplemental source of dietary fiber. It is an excellent source of fiber. But, coconut flour has over twice as much fiber as wheat bran. It has four times as much as oat bran or soy flour, and 20 times as much as enriched white bread.
To substitute coconut flour using standard recipes. You have to make a few changes. Since coconut flour lacks gluten you cannot substitute it 100% in bread recipes that are designed for wheat flour. Coconut flour is much more absorbent than wheat and other flours. One of the characteristics of fiber is its ability to absorb moisture. Because of this, coconut flour can only replace up to 25% of wheat flour. You also need to add an equal portion of water or other fluid. For example, if you use 1/2 cup of coconut flour. Add an additional half cup of water to the recipe.
It is possible to use 100% coconut flour when not trying to make substitutions to standard recipes. Great recipes can be found in the book Cooking with Coconut Flour by Bruce Fife. He’s taken the time to create recipes using only coconut flour so these recipes are gluten free, low glycemic, and low carb . . . and they taste great!
Coconut milk is manufactured by squeezing or extracting the liquid from coconut meat. Coconut milk has a milky white color creamy texture and nutty flavor. Some coconut milk is watered down to reduce the fat content. This is called lowfat or light coconut milk. But to regain the milks necessary thick texture for recipes, thickeners, such as guar gum are usually added. Avoid the lowfat and nonfat coconut milk. Canned coconut milk can have separation, especially for brands that do not use thickeners. To mix simply shake the can vigorously before opening.
There are currently boxed coconut milk as a milk alternative. These are somewhat watered down and processed to have less of a coconut flavor but can be more palatable to when drinking by the glass, used in hot and cold cereals, or poured over fresh fruit. Personally, I like the thicker consistency for other beverages such as smoothies, or to make clam chowder, creamy soups, or gravy. One of my son’s favorite treats is 4 Tablespoons of coconut milk mixed into 1 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice. Freeze for a delicious summer treat.
Coconut milk is a rich source of manganese, which can help maintain blood sugar fluctuations. It is a good source of iron which can help prevent anemia. Coconut milk makes you feel full very quickly because of high concentrations of dietary fiber. So it can help control weight. Again, it has a good level of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure.
Has a slightly higher fat content than coconut milk. But, it has a smooth, silky consistency that adds great flavor to dishes such as curry. The saturated fat in coconut cream is actually healthy good fats that your body can easily metabolize and turn into energy fast, without raising your blood cholesterol level and adding pounds to your weight. The principal saturated fat, or fatty acid, in coconut cream is lauric acid. This is the same type of saturated fat found in abundance in human breast milk.
Coconut cream is usually available as a solid in small box. It must be mixed with water or additional coconut milk and melted over heat. This makes it a fantastic base for desserts, such as custard.
Don’t confuse coconut cream or coconut milk with cream of coconut. Cream of coconut is coconut cream with sugar added and is very sweet. It is often used in beverages and desserts.
Add a few of these coconut foods in addition to or in place of your current milk products and discover a creamy taste that will give you long lasting energy.
- Making Fresh Coconut Milk (southpacificengagement.com)