Thursday, 9 October 2014

Biona organic coconut flour: Product review

From time to time I get sent delicious vegan products to review. This time I was sent a box of Biona coconut flour from Real Foods Edinburgh, a product I was excited to try. Coconut flour is quite "in" right now, its high fibre and naturally gluten free status making it great for baking for people with coeliacs disease or a gluten intolerance. What I didn't realize is that using it in this way was a little easier said than done if trying to create something which is also vegan. Please excuse the phone camera images, I was in a mad rush to complete and eat!

Well-loved box of Biona organic coconut flour

Take 1. Banana pancakes.

The recipe on the back of the box was pancakes, the recipe I wanted to use to taste-test the product. Though very simple (and only using two tablespoons of the coconut flour), this recipe contained eggs. Having successful replaced eggs with mashed bananas in pancakes in the past this was what I did. I noticed that there wasn't much batter and it was very thick. My flatmate and I both took turns trying to toss the stodgy mixture in the pan. It didn't flip, it crumbled...

The result was quite tasty but resembled mashed potato rather than pancakes. We added chocolate to the goo and decided it was quite delicious, in a "that's so wrong kind of way".

gooey chocolatey sweet thing

Verdict: a bit of a flop appearance and consistency-wise but still tasty.

Take 2. Flax seed pancakes.

One week later and I was still trying to fathom what had gone wrong. Had I used to much mashed banana? Too little milk? I decided to try again using ground flax seed plus water as an egg replacement. There was still not much batter, and what there was turned out very thick and grainy. I fried the batter this time, and came out with beautiful little wholemeal/high fibre pancakes. They bound together well and I could turn them without the fear of eating pudding for breakfast. I served them with sliced bananas and a little agave syrup.

Browning nicely...

Ready to devour!

Verdict: The coconut taste was quite evident and did make the texture more grainy, but in a good way. I loved the exotic flavour it added to my pancakes.

Take 3. Banana Bread.

Having had reasonable success with the last batch of pancakes I thought I would incorporate the coconut flour into a cake recipe. I was making banana bread and used 2/3 buckwheat and 1/3 coconut flour in this recipe

Verdict: In my opinion mixing the coconut flour with another type of flour is the best way to use it in vegan recipes. It made the cake very moist and gave it a slightly coconuty flavour which melted in the mouth. I think this is how I will use the flour next time (I still have a lot left in the box!)

Biona organic coconut flour is available from Real Foods Edinburgh, 500g coming in at £3.99. This will last for ages!