Unsweetened Desiccated Coconut vs Coconut Flour Which Best?
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Unsweetened Desiccated Coconut For Baking

Walk down the baking aisle of your grocery store and you’ll likely spot both desiccated coconut and coconut flour. At first glance they may seem quite similar - after all, they both come from coconuts! But there are some key differences between the two that impact how they’re used in cooking and baking.

Let’s break down what exactly desiccated coconut and coconut flour are, how they differ from each other, when to use each one, and if they can be substituted for one another in recipes.

What is Unsweetened Desiccated Coconut?

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Desiccated coconut, sometimes called unsweetened shredded coconut, is made from the white part of mature coconuts that have been dried and shredded. The drying process removes most of the moisture, resulting in coconut shreds that have a dry, crisp texture.

Desiccated coconut has a sweet, nutty coconut flavor that can enhance both sweet and savory dishes. It also adds texture - the shreds provide a nice chew in baked goods like cookies, granola and quick breads.

You’ll find desiccated coconut sold in bags near other baking ingredients and sometimes in the health food section as well. When stored properly in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, it will keep for up to 18 months.

What is Coconut Flour?

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Coconut flour is made from coconut meat that has been dried and ground into a very fine powder. It has a grainy, flour-like texture and works well in place of traditional flours like wheat or all-purpose flour.

To make coconut flour, the coconut meat is first dried and defatted. Then the dry coconut solids are finely ground. This creates a flour that is high in fiber and low in digestible carbs.

Coconut flour has a mild coconut flavor that works well in both sweet baked goods and savory dishes. Due to its high fiber content, it’s often used by those following low-carb, ketogenic or paleo diets. It’s usually found in the baking or health food aisle.

Key Differences Between Desiccated Coconut and Coconut Flour

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While both originate from coconuts, there are some important ways that desiccated coconut and coconut flour differ:

  • Texture: Desiccated coconut has a crisp, shredded texture while coconut flour has a very fine, powdery flour texture.
  • Moisture content: Desiccated coconut contains about 3% moisture while coconut flour contains only 2-4% moisture.
  • Fat content: Coconut flour has most of the fat removed during processing, while desiccated coconut contains over 30% fat.
  • Fiber content: Coconut flour is much higher in fiber (over 60% fiber) compared to only about 5% fiber in desiccated coconut.
  • Carb content: Per gram, desiccated coconut contains about 15 times more net carbs than coconut flour.
  • Coconut flavor: Desiccated coconut has a stronger coconut flavor compared to the more mild flavor of coconut flour.
  • Uses: Desiccated coconut is used primarily for texture, topping baked goods, making granola, etc. Coconut flour is used for baking to replace wheat/grain flours.

Desiccated Coconut Baking Tips

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Here are some of the most popular ways to use desiccated coconut baking:

  • Topping baked goods like muffins, scones, cookies or quick breads. The shredded coconut adds both flavor and texture.
  • Mixing into granola or trail mixes to add coconut flavor and nutrients.
  • Adding to curries, stir fries and savory dishes to complement the other flavors.
  • Folding into whipped cream to create an easy coconut whipped cream topping.
  • Adding to smoothies or yogurt along with other mix-ins.
  • Mixing with chocolate, peanut butter, nuts or dried fruit to create homemade coconut clusters.
  • Using as part of the filling in homemade candies or truffles.

Anywhere you want a touch of coconut flavor and a shredded, chewy texture - desiccated coconut is the choice over coconut flour.

Coconut Flour Baking Tips

Coconut flour has some unique properties that make it a good choice for certain recipes:

  • Gluten-free baking - The high fiber and low carb content of coconut flour make it a popular choice for gluten-free baking. It can replace wheat flour in recipes for breads, muffins, cakes, cookies and more.
  • Paleo baking - Coconut flour works well in paleo recipes since it’s grain-free, low carb and high in nutrients.
  • High protein baking - With about 20% protein content per gram, using coconut flour boosts the nutrition in baked goods.
  • Low-carb/keto diets - Coconut flour has just 6 grams net carbs per 1/4 cup serving, making it perfect for low carb diets.
  • Thickening sauces & stews - The absorbent nature of coconut flour helps thicken and add nutrition to sauces and stews.
  • Dairy-free recipes - In dairy-free baking, coconut flour can help replace texture and moisture.

Coconut flour is best used in recipes specifically developed to use its unique binding and moisture absorbing properties. Replacing wheat flour with coconut flour in any recipe usually doesn’t work.

Can They Be Substituted for Each Other?

When it comes to swapping one for the other in recipes, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Using coconut flour in place of desiccated coconut almost never works. The moisture absorbing properties of coconut flour result in dry, crumbly textures.
  • Replacing desiccated coconut with coconut flour requires additional wet ingredients and binding agents. Start by substituting 1/4 the amount of coconut flour for desiccated coconut.
  • Coconut flour cannot simply be substituted for wheat flour in recipes. The proportions must be adjusted, usually starting with 1/4 to 1/3 the amount of coconut flour.
  • Desiccated coconut adds moisture to recipes, while coconut flour soaks up moisture. This makes substitution tricky.
  • In some cases, like using coconut flour to coat shrimp or fish before frying, the two can be swapped evenly. But texture and moisture levels will differ.

The bottom line is that while desiccated coconut and coconut flour both originate from coconuts, their differences mean they cannot be used interchangeably in most recipes. For best results, stick to the specific ingredient the recipe calls for.

However, in a pinch, subbing a small amount of coconut flour for desiccated coconut can work, though the texture may be a bit dryer. And substituting some desiccated coconut for coconut flour will add moisture to a recipe, though absorptive properties will be reduced. Just be prepared to experiment and adjust recipes as needed.

When it comes to cooking and baking with coconuts, be sure you know whether a recipe needs the crispiness of desiccated coconut or the absorbent qualities of coconut flour. They each serve different purposes and shine in different dishes!

#1 Reliable Desiccated Coconut Manufacturers From Indonesia

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Discover the delicious flavor and versatility of desiccated coconut from Coconut Dreams. As a leading desiccated coconut manufacturers from Indonesia, we use only the finest coconuts to produce a top-quality product packed with flavor.

Our coconut is carefully processed to remove moisture while retaining the signature coconut taste, resulting in a crispy, snowy white coconut perfect for baking, confections, cereals, trail mixes, and more.

Coconut Dreams desiccated coconut comes in shreds, flakes, or chips to suit your cooking or snacking needs. Our coconuts are never treated with preservatives, sulfites, or other additives - just pure, natural coconut goodness.

Bring the tropical essence of coconut to your recipes with Coconut Dreams, the name you can trust for premium desiccated coconut.

Contact us today to learn more about our products and experience the Coconut Dreams difference!

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