Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Coconut and Almond Flours

You may have noticed that a lot of my recipes feature coconut flour.  And trust me, you need a recipe to handle this baby.  Coconut flour contains HEAPS of fiber... and not much else, which means that it absorbs monstrous amounts of liquid, and leaves your batter dry and crumbly.  Not much fun if you are trying to make pancakes (ask me how I know!  :P )

If you look at recipes that use coconut flour, you should notice a couple of things they all have in common:
  • Most recipes use minute amounts of coconut flour.  (And when I say minute, I mean about 2 tablespoons!)
  • And most recipes have very high egg content, which is fine, unless you are allergic to egg (like Brother9).  A few recipes I have seen have a ratio of two tablespoons of coconut flour to four eggs.  Eggs are binding.  In wheat flour recipes, the gluten in the wheat is what binds the dough or batter together.  Other flours don't have those properties (which makes them gluten-free).  Eggs bind the the batter together so that it holds throughout the mixing and cooking stages.

 Having said all that, however, there are exceptions.  Some recipes require more flour and less egg - it all depends on the recipe.

Almond meal is the favourite staple for someone going wheat free.  If you have looked at wheat free recipes, you'll see that two out of three recipes contain almond meal.  Almond meal can be substituted for wheat flour on a straight ratio, so it is pretty easy to use, although it still doesn't bind brilliantly.  It doesn't require as much liquid as coconut flour, but it probably wouldn't hurt to throw another egg in the mix if you are just experimenting. 
One thing to watch with almond meal, though, is that is made on almonds.  Surprise!  I bet you weren't expecting that.  ;)  All joking aside, though, my Lady Mother has been experiencing an upset tummy everyday after she eats something containing almond meal.  We thought this was a bit odd, as she eats almonds as a snack every day.  So she read up about it and this is what she found out:

Almonds are rich in poly-unsaturated fats, which is fine since they are in their natural form and you only usually eat a couple of handfuls of almonds a day.  (Contrary to common belief, poly-unsaturated fats such as seed oils, are really bad for you.  Saturated fats like butter and animal fats are actually good for you - you need them in your body to function properly.  I am fairly new to this concept, and don't know the ins and outs of it yet, but if you would like to read more, I would highly recommend David Gillespie's website (  ) and book "Toxic Oils" available on his website or as an ebook through Amazon)  Would you sit down and eat 90 almonds in one go?  Of course not!  However that is how many of those little buggers are in just half a cup of almond meal.  I'm not saying that you shouldn't eat almond meal or almonds, but I am saying that some people (like my Lady Mother) seem to react more strongly to the poly-unsaturated fats than others, especially if they have not eaten such oils in a period of time.  So please keep eating almonds - they are really very healthy, especially for expecting and nursing mothers are they are extremely laxative and can help stimulate nursing. 

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