Bake Healthy! New Coconut Flour Cuts Carbs, Adds Fiber
Dear Friends and Valued Customers,
Since 1969, in addition to our catalog, we have maintained a health food store in downtown Fargo, ND. Joanne Audette was the retail manager for 13 years before retiring in 2015. She did a superb job of ensuring that this important consumer outlet remained at the forefront and serving our valued Swanson customers in North Dakota and Minnesota. She was also invaluable in providing in-store consumer feedback to us. As a big proponent of coconut flour, she convinced me we must add it to our line of healthy food products. Read on to learn about Joanne’s expertise on how best to use coconut flour.
SWANSON: Joanne, before we get into the wonderful virtues of Coconut Flour, can you please tell our readers a bit about your background?
AUDETTE: Well, I tell customers that I am a “leading edge” baby boomer and that I married into the health food business 40 years ago (WOW! Time flies!) My husband’s family had a natural food store and wholesale distribution business in downtown Minneapolis in the very early ‘60s (PAVO Foods). My husband (Swanson’s former New Product Marketing Manager Tom Audette) has worked in the natural health industry almost exclusively throughout our married life. As a result, learning about natural health and wellness became an avocation for me. Reading Adelle Davis and Carlton Fredericks back in the early ‘70s taught me to view health and wellness as something that was my own responsibility. Good health does not just happen; a person has to continually work at it. This is our way of life. As retail store manager I think that I have the best job I could possibly have. Every day brings new situations, new information, new products and lots of questions from customers. I really enjoy helping them. I view my job as being a conduit of information.
SWANSON: Thanks for that background. Now, how did you come to be such a proponent of Coconut Flour?
AUDETTE: I became interested in Coconut Flour quite by accident. Tom came home talking about it and was mentioning a recipe that sounded absolutely out of proportion when he was telling me the ingredients. I just had to get some and try it! My first try produced a very good loaf of cranberry walnut bread. That did it for me. I was on a mission to find out everything I could about Coconut Flour. Everything I learned proved to me that this was something very beneficial to eat! Gluten-free foods are in big demand now. Trying to bake gluten-free bread is a major undertaking. All the recipes call for about a dozen or more ingredients. But with Coconut Flour the recipes are simple and have the added benefit of being very high in fiber. This is a product that can be of great benefit to everyone. Coconut Flour can absorb a large quantity of liquid. The texture of the batter does look different from those made with wheat flour. I have learned that when the batter is thick do not try to thin it down by adding more liquid. The batter will only get thicker. If you continue to add liquid, it will become saturated and then thin down; but the end product is not the best. Follow the recipe carefully with regards to liquids and the amount of flour. I have also substituted xylitol for the sugar in recipes, and it produced a very nice, tasty and sugar-free product.
SWANSON: What are the primary differences between Coconut Flour and the common everyday flour we’re all familiar with?
AUDETTE: Wheat flour is one of the major food allergies. It is high in carbohydrates and does not have much fiber. Even wheat bran is only about 27% fiber. Coconut Flour is 42% fiber. Plus, it contains protein. The bread it produces is very similar to “quick breads” like banana bread (which most people are familiar with). A person cannot simply exchange coconut flour for the wheat flour in a regular recipe. Coconut Flour is very hygroscopic—it absorbs moisture in the air and will clump. You must store it in a tightly sealed container. When using it in a recipe, the amount of Coconut Flour used is quite small. Eggs and baking powder provide the leavening in the recipes. The end product is high in protein and high in fiber.
SWANSON: What about taste? Will Coconut Flour significantly affect the flavor of baked goods?
AUDETTE: The recipes I have tried are all very good. Until you become familiar with how Coconut Flour works, be sure to use the recipes that are available. I am sure that you can substitute some Coconut Flour for some of the wheat flour in a recipe, which will add fiber.
SWANSON: What is your favorite way to use Coconut Flour?
AUDETTE: I have made muffins, crepes, chocolate cake and several different breads and pancakes. A rather small serving is very satisfying and keeps hunger away longer than anything I have tried. This helps me to consume less calories. Most of the recipes call for coconut oil, which I consider an added bonus. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, which the body burns immediately for energy. It also contains lauric acid. I do think that using Coconut Flour regularly will help with weight loss. The high fiber content keeps you feeling satisfied and slows down stomach emptying.