I decided to take a stab at converting my all-time favorite banana bread recipe into a grain/gluten-free version using organic coconut flour and Honey Melt, and made with ONE-THIRD of the added sugar. This banana bread recipe came out yummy, moist, almost gooey. Warm organic whole cream would be sublime over a slice of this bread!
Nourished Kitchen describes the unique challenges of baking with coconut flour, which I have summarized below with my own adaptations for this recipe. Baking with coconut flour requires certain techniques before it will yield good results because it does not perform the same as grain-based flours. It is well worth the trial and error, however, as coconut flour is a very nutritious alternative to wheat flour.
What is Coconut Flour and How is it Used for Baking?
Coconut flour is a soft flour produced from dried coconut meat as a natural byproduct of coconut milk production. I purchase Coconut Secret Organic Coconut Flour.
When coconut milk is pressed from coconut meat, bits of solid coconut meat are leftover that are then dried at low temperature and ground until producing a soft, fine powder suitable for baking. Popular among those adhering to grain-restrictive diets such as paleo diets, the GAPS or SCD diet or any grain-free diet, coconut flour offers a gluten-free and protein-rich alternative to traditional grain-based flours.
Benefits of Baking with Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is rich in protein, fiber and fat which makes it very filling. Coconut flour is also a good source of lauric acid, a saturated fat thought to support the immune system and the thyroid. Like most healthy fats, lauric acid also promotes skin health.
Coconut flour is an exceptionally good source of manganese which helps you to better utilize many nutrients including choline and biotin (found in eggs), vitamin C and thiamin. Manganese also supports bone health, nervous system function, thyroid health and helps to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
Tips for Baking with Coconut Flour
If you are frying or sautéing and need to dredge meats or vegetables, you can use coconut flour in an amount that is equivalent to wheat flour. In baking, you cannot substitute coconut flour for wheat or other grain-based flours at a 1:1 ratio as they are not equivalent.
Coconut flour is highly absorbent so very little coconut flour is needed to successfully produce a recipe. In baked goods, you generally want to substitute 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup coconut flour per 1 cup of grain-based flour.
Coconut flour is dense and can also be dry. You will also need to increase the number of eggs. As a rule of thumb, for every cup of coconut flour you use, you will need to use four to six beaten eggs in your recipe plus approximately one cup of liquid. You can also add cooked, pureed or mashed fruits or vegetables to your baked goods to increase the moisture.
Coconut flour is clumpy so it must be thoroughly sifted with the other dry ingredients in your recipe.
GLUTEN-FREE HONEY MELT BANANA BREAD
1 square Honey MELT Organic, melted
¾ c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
Grated orange rind
1 c. organic coconut flour
¾ c. tapioca starch flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
2 c. mashed overripe bananas in…
1 c. strong, black coffee
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
With a hand mixer, beat Honey MELT and sugar together in a large bowl, adding each egg one at a time until thoroughly blended. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and grated orange rind last and beat until light-ish in color.
In a separate mixing bowl, sift together – TWICE – the coconut flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Add flour mixture and banana-coffee mash alternately to the Honey MELT mixture, beginning and ending with flour (flour – banana – flour – banana – flour). After each addition mix gently to combine, but do not beat or over mix as this will toughen and dry out the bread.
Generously butter two loaf pans with Rich & Creamy MELT Organic. Divide batter and bake for 55 – 60 minutes. Use a butter knife to check the center of the loaves prior to removing from the oven.
Cool 10 minutes in the pan then remove to finish cooling. Enjoy!