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Jan 5, 2013 07:30 PM

Expert *no grains* Bakers: Muffins - Best Practices Qs

I want to have a better sense of the properties and interactions among
• almond flour
• coconut flour
• baking powder
• baking soda
• incorporating various vegetables and fruits

Here's what I know so far:
• Coconut flour absorbs more liquid (makes a better clafouti than almond fl.).
• Almond flour makes a nice enough "crumb" with baking soda.
• Traditionally, sugar adds moistness in baking.
• Baking soda alone is fine if the ingreds have some acidity. Otherwise, use baking powder for lift.

Here's what I'm wondering...any light you can shed on these, or related heuristics would be much appreciated!

Pumpkin and spice muffin recipe calls for almond flour only (plus eggs, b.soda, salt, honey).
• I'd like to use mix of almond and coconut. Should I go have and half, or doesn't it matter?
• Also want to include more pumpkin. Do I have to up the b.soda? What's the optimal ratio? Would b.soda be better--why or why not?
• If I use a bit more honey - or maple syrup - what else needs to change?
• They came out a little bit dry--maybe need to be taken out of oven sooner, or could/should I add some coconut cream or coconut oil? (I did grease muffin tin iwth some coconut oil.)

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  1. I have no idea, but they're really good questions. When I have a question about carbalose or CarbQuik, I go to the Tova web site FAQ. It's very possible that there's something similar on those makers' sites, or that you can email for technical advice about how to adapt recipes.

    1 Reply
    1. It always matters with coconut flour.most accomplished bakers cant just "wing it" with alternative flours. I have never been happy with the texture of anything made with coconut flour. I have made dozens of items and still can't make good educated guesses on ratios of liquid to coconut flour. It sucks up water like a sponge and has the texture of a sponge. I give up.

      Almond flour is something that I love for pie crusts of all kinds and for cookies. It is terrible in most savory applications, it's just too sweet and crumbly. Disgusting for biscuits, dumplings and breads. But easier to sub almost 1:1 for flour. I get a good base recipe I enjoy and start subbing from there.

      I mix flours for muffins. I like to mix almond and ground flax in those kind of quick breads, muffins or bars. A little oat bran or carbquick really helps too.

      Oh, I always keep a bag of splendid low carb bake mix in my fridge. Jennifer eloff has made up many different ones. I like the ones without soy. I make up a big batch. It subs 1:1for flour so you can convert any recipe easily. Really good results.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sedimental

        The ground flax is interesting, but I've heard that heat destroys the stuff that's good about them, so I prefer to eat it in uncooked foods.

        I don't know anything about mixes - low carb or otherwise - and prefer to stick with the ingreds I mentioned.

        I'm certainly not an accomplished baker, and you're right that winging it with baking does not always result in an edible outcome.

        1. re: Enso

          The bake "mixes" I am referring to are homemade. They are just ratio's that have already been worked out (tested by Jennifer and LC bakers and cookbook authors) to help you learn to bake with these types of flours. They usually have almond and/or coconut flours, but also may have you mix in other flours or low carb ingredients to make the end result more texturally like a traditional baked good- not spongy or crumbly or hard like if you just use one flour.

          Coconut flours dry out everything and are usually too crumbly to just use alone. Bakers combat the dryness by using copious amounts of eggs. If you get a really dry result from Coconut flour, add eggs not water.

          I am trying out a new recipe tonight for a quick bread ( I think from a mix of almond and coconut). I will let you know how it turns out :)

          1. re: sedimental

            Okay, I made this:

            However, I can never seem to just follow a recipe. I ran out of almond flour so I subbed 1.5 cups of a LC bake mix that included almond flour in it. I also used vanilla instead of almond and mixed up the sweetners (xylitol, stevia and sweet perfection) but used all the same ratios and it all worked fine. I like it when the ratios are good in something like this, then I can play with it. This would make a nice cocoa nut cake, butter cake or peanut butter chocolate cake.

            Bottom line was that I really liked it. It is much better at room temp with butter on it. Not overly sweet, it tastes a great deal like zucchini bread. It will go well with coffee or tea. I love green tea and can taste the matcha in this bread, my spouse couldn't taste it but thought it was zucchini bread. It is very pretty :)

      2. i'd go 3/4, 1/4 pumpkin, coconut -- try it first, see how much extra liquid the coconut takes.

        more pumpkin --> cut back eggs a bit. and/or cook the pumpkin down a bit to reduce the moisture and concentrate the pumpkin flavor.

        a bit extra sweetener, no biggie. or try agave, or a little molasses.

        add a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil if you like... that will definitely help with moisture. or add in a couple of tablespoons of plain or greek yogurt.