Made from coconut meat, coconut flour is quickly gaining popularity. A highly moisture absorbent, soft, nutritive flour make for an attractive baking component. Coconut flour is gaining momentum as a baking medium as more people are reducing or omitting grains from their diets. Coconut flour is a popular choice among grain free diets despite the challenges it presents to the bakers. This is because it is a cost effective, protein rich, fat filled, fiber abundant, gluten, and grain free option. Especially since it is high lauric acid which supports healthy skin!
It is sometimes debated that coconut should be avoided because of its high saturated fat content. However, research is showing that saturated fats can indeed be a healthy addition to diets if they are naturally derived saturated fats as most coconut products are. (You will have to watch to ensure you are not getting highly processed or modified coconut products.) Now, it is thought that healthy saturated fats help to support the thyroid and immune systems. Coconut has oodles of nutrients, as does coconut flour since it is derived from the coconut meat itself.
There are many tutorials and recipes for making your own coconut flour from fresh coconut meat. Though it is also available at most grocery stores. Though you cannot just replace grain based flours cup for cup with coconut flour. It acts much differently than a grain based flour. For one thing, it has a tendency to make foods dense and dry. Do not be discouraged though, this can be offset through proper management. It is probably best to use established coconut flour recipes. This will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. At least until you are very familiar with cooking with coconut flour. Recipes abound with a simple web search.
To offset the tendency for dryness, many increase moisture in their recipes as well as adding more eggs. To offset the denseness, many add fruit & veggie pures, leaveners, or fillers that can lighten the end product. As well as making sure to not pack the measuring cup when getting coconut flour. These factors make it a really good idea to start with some tested recipes. Now for breading, coconut flour can be traded one for one with grain based flours.
Then you can experience some of the great benefits of this flour. Benefits such as feeling fuller faster, high fiber content with a tablespoon having about 5 grams, and often you only need about a quarter as much as you do of a grain based flour.
Not everyone needs to replace their grain based flours with alternatives such as coconut flour. Why going gluten and grain-free are becoming so popular is a topic for another article altogether. The important thing to know is that you can indeed make a flour out of coconut meat and that many who have issues with tree-nut based allergies like almond flour are able to cook with coconut flour.