Low-carb & keto baking 101
Ingredients for low-carb baking
Low-carb baking is different from traditional baking. First of all you need to get to know a bunch of new ingredients used instead of flour made from wheat or other grains. The most common ones that we use here on this site are almond flour, coconut flour and ground psyllium husk powder.
Almond flour1 is a gluten-free nut flour that should consist of nothing but ground blanched almonds. This means that you can make your own at home, from scratch, by grinding whole blanched almonds to a fine meal (unless you just want to buy it). Using a coffee or spice grinder usually works best. Be careful not to grind them for too long or the nuts will release their fat and you´ll end up with almond butter, which is a great tasting nut butter but perhaps not what you were going for when making almond flour.
1 cup (240 ml) of almond flour weighs 3½ oz. (99 grams).
Coconut flour is made from cold-pressed coconut flesh that’s been dried and then ground to a fine meal. It has a characteristic coconut flavor and a high fiber content that binds the liquid in a dough. As it, like almond flour, is gluten-free it won’t make a dough rise like traditional flour when yeast is added.
1 cup (240 ml) of coconut flour weighs 4½ oz. (128 grams).
Ground psyllium husk powder is 100% pulverized psyllium husk shells and is used to give a bread-like texture to what you’re baking. Due to its high fiber content it’s often sold as a laxative which can be good to know if you have a sensitive digestive system. When adding it to a liquid it turns into a gel-like substance. It works a bit like gluten in traditional baking, and makes it possible to handle the dough when rolling or shaping it.
1 tbl of ground psyllium husk powder weighs (10 grams).
These products all tend to differ a lot between different brands which unfortunately makes low-carb baking a bit tricky. For example, some brands of ground psyllium husk powder color the dough purple. It doesn’t seem to affect the taste but makes the outcome a bit more… purple. The amount of carbs in almond and coconut flour can also vary quite a bit between different brands. Read the labels and choose the best one available.
A common question is whether you can substitute almond flour for coconut flour and the other way around. Yes, often you can but not in equal amounts. 1 cup of almond flour can be substituted for 1/3 cup of coconut flour. 1/3 cup of coconut flour can be substituted for 2/3 cup almond flour + 1.5 tablespoons of ground psyllium husk powder. The amounts may need to be adjusted depending on what brands you’re using.
Do you need baking on low carb?
The ingredients above are usually quite expensive and might take some experimenting to get the hang of using. The low-carb or keto way of eating by no means require baking. If you don’t miss bread you certainly don’t need to replace it with a low-carb version but if you do miss bread or maybe just miss the baking itself the recipes below might be of interest to you.