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So I followed the following recipe once and the bread buns turned perfect. Today I decided to make it more coconut-ish so that it tastes and smells like coconut even more than the previous batch. I substituted half of the flour with coconut flour, added more coconut flakes and substituted the butter with coconut butter (that is what I did the first time, using coconut butter)! It seems that I messed it up and it is so crumbly that I cannot knead it! I came up with the idea that I might make small buns that look like cookie but then I added yeast, how to fix it? Or what to make with this crumbly dough?

4 cups flour
3 eggs
4 tbsp coconut flakes
50 gr butter
water
2 tsp yeast
vanilla 1/2 tsp
salt 1 tsp
sugar 1/3 cup

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  • Double the recipe and add enough flour to make up to the correct doubled amount? You can't substitute a non-wheat flour and expect the same properties; in general for baking the best practice is to look for a recipe that already has the properties you want.
    – dbmag9
    May 28, 2020 at 21:08
  • For coconut flavour, you might want to look for coconut extract or essence to add instead.
    – dbmag9
    May 28, 2020 at 21:09
  • (I've made those comments into an answer.)
    – dbmag9
    May 28, 2020 at 21:13
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    Another way to add coconut flavor is to use coconut milk in place of water, or freeze-dried coconut cream powder.
    – kitukwfyer
    May 30, 2020 at 23:37

2 Answers 2

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You can't substitute a non-wheat flour for a wheat flour and expect similar baking properties; bread doughs rely on gluten for their structure which is why gluten-free baking is difficult.

The simplest way to fix this would be to double the recipe, look at what you've already added, and add more ingredients up to the correct amounts. You can freeze bread dough which helps mitigate the 'too much' problem although I appreciate it might get you through your ingredients faster than you'd want.

If you're dead set against that, add more flour in small quantities and try to knead the dough until it has a workable consistency, and see how it comes out.

For your broader desire for the bread to have a stronger coconut flavour, consider buying coconut extract or essence and adding that to the original recipe.

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  • Right, I will try to double the recipe, thanks. But I'm not a big fan of essence and extracts as chemicals.
    – Gigili
    May 28, 2020 at 21:17
  • All food is composed of 'chemicals'; the key is to look at the ingredients and decide which chemicals you might reasonably be concerned about. Your recipe already includes 'vanilla' which I assume is an extract; in general extracts can be made in more or less 'natural' ways so if that's a concern just look at a few different brands online.
    – dbmag9
    May 28, 2020 at 21:20
  • Well, actually I tripled the recipe somehow (only added flour and water), it's less crumbly but in no way resembles a bread dough and still not kneadable!
    – Gigili
    May 28, 2020 at 21:44
  • @Gigili Do you mean that (starting with your version of the recipe where you had halved the flour and replaced it with coconut flour) you only added regular flour and water? If you did not add the other ingredients (particularly eggs in this case, but the others will be important for flavour and structure too) you shouldn't expect a good dough.
    – dbmag9
    May 29, 2020 at 16:54
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    This the right answer: by swapping our half the flour for a gluten-free flour (strictly speaking, a flour that doesn't develop gluten when mixed with water) you got a dough without the strength and structure provided by gluten. May 30, 2020 at 11:58
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Coconut flour is extremely absorbent (see my answer here).

Given that you went half and half, that means 2 cups of coconut flour or around 225 g. Added to the 2 cups of AP flour (250 g), that's around 475 g of total flour. To even have a chance at making a workable dough, I'd estimate at the bare minimum, you'd want a 200% hydration rate. That means roughly 3 ½ cups of water on top of the eggs to even have a shot. But I doubt even that would work. Coconut flour is so absorbent that it will compete with the regular flour, hoarding water and preventing it from hydrating well enough to form the gluten necessary to provide an overall structure. Moreover, coconut flour possesses no inherent structure-building properties like regular wheat flour.

I'd start by trying no more than 10% coconut flour and 90% AP flour. That may require an extra egg or two and a little extra water. By starting with a small difference like this, you should be able to judge whether it's feasible to increase the coconut flour ratio even more, and if so, how much extra moisture you'd need.

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  • +1. I briefly tried going keto and had a few adventures with coconut flour. Practically speaking, nut flour breads typically rely on whipped eggs and chemical leaveners like baking powder. That said, using psyllium husk powder can help with the coarse texture of coconut flour for kneading and shaping at least.
    – kitukwfyer
    May 30, 2020 at 23:34

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