Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Coconut Flour Lemon Bread Recipe – First Attempt

Finished Coconut Flour Lemon Bread
©Marie Anne St. Jean

I’m still trying to get back on the low-carb bandwagon, and have been researching alternatives to baking with white or wheat flower.  I found organic coconut flour at my local Mennonite/Amish market, so thought I’d give that a try.  I don’t know how coconut flour compares to regular flour in carb count, but it is gluten free and likely better for me in that regard, so I figured I’d give it a try.  Paleo is another new dietary regimen buzz word, and I guess coconut flour fits into that program also.

I’ve never used coconut flour (or any flour other than made from wheat), so I did a little research first to see how it compares to white flour when baking.  I’m glad I did, because I found that it reacts so much differently than regular flour, and requires more liquid than you would think.   I searched for bread recipes with coconut flour and found several, and they took between 6 and a full dozen eggs – yikes!  Most called for a sugar substitute as the sweetener, with some giving directions for using white sugar, but I decided to try honey instead and added a little lemon juice to liven things up a bit, thinking since honey is more liquid than sugar, I could use less eggs.

I think what I came up with worked out great.  Coconut flour isn’t going to give you a real bakery bread-like texture, but will result in something more akin to cornbread.  Think of it as banana bread without the bananas – it’s not sweet, but not like ‘real’ bread either. This isn’t something you can make sandwiches with, but it’ll taste good with a pot of beans, or with a little butter and honey or jam with your morning coffee or tea.

Since the trick to working with coconut flour is getting the ratio of flour to liquid correct, I was surprised that I nailed it on the first try.  Here’s my recipe, followed by notes of what I might change next time:

Ingredients for Coconut Flour Lemon Bread

¾ cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
5 eggs
½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/3 cup honey
1 tbls lemon juice

Sift together coconut flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a bowl.

Mix together eggs, butter, and honey in separate bowl until well blended.  (If the butter is lumpy, use a mixer on low for a minute or so, and break up lumps as much as possible).

Add sifted dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix well by hand (a heavy spatula worked well for me), adding lemon juice.  Batter will be thicker and less liquid than cake batter, but not as stiff as cookie batter (it will resemble cornbread batter at this point).

Spoon mixture into a greased loaf pan (it doesn't pour well) and bake at 350* for 40 minutes.  Turn out onto wire rack to cool.

Mixture will resemble cornbread dough
©Marie Anne St. Jean

Notes: 

- I wasn’t sure how much honey would be needed as a sweetener, so I started with approximately 1/3 cup, but don’t think the result was quite sweet enough.  I’ll probably increase to ½ cup when I make this again.

- I also wasn’t sure how much lemon juice I should add, so I started with 1 tablespoon.  I didn’t really get the lemony flavor I desired, so will increase to 2 tablespoons the next time I make this recipe.

- Since bread made with coconut flour doesn’t really rise, it looked pretty skimpy in the loaf pan.  I think I’ll try using smaller loaf pans next time.  I might also increase the coconut flour to a full cup and add an extra egg, and increase the amount of honey and lemon by a small amount if using a regular sized loaf pan again.


Fresh out of the oven
©Marie Anne St. Jean

If you make coconut lemon bread using this recipe, please let me know how it turns out, and whether you tried any of the changes that I suggested.  I've already eaten half of this first loaf this afternoon, so I'll undoubtedly be trying the new variations soon, and will post my results again.

Now that I've tried coconut flour, I think I'll try making my own almond flour and see what I can do with that.

~ Marie Anne


(Yes, you can even buy organic coconut flour through amazon.com)



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