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GETTING STARTED WITH KETO BAKING
The ketogenic (keto) diet is used for a variety of reasons, from managing diabetes to weight loss, and it's proved very effective. I'll dive into a short explanation of the diet below, but remember that it's always a good idea to consult with a health professional for support, especially if you're considering the keto diet for health reasons.
Your body typically burns fuel in the form of glucose from carbohydrates — mostly because it's more accessible. When food or carbohydrates are not readily available, your liver begins to convert fat, rather than carbs, into fuel. This state of burning fats is called ketosis.
By eating a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat, you create an environment in your body that favors burning fat. What it takes to get and stay in ketosis varies for each person, and it depends on your age, body weight, gender, and activity level.
To better determine what your goal is for maintaining ketosis, measure the amount of fat to protein to carbohydrates you eat on a daily basis. Here is the general ratio guideline for daily consumption of each type of macro-nutrient while on the keto diet:
Fat: 60 to 75 percent of your calories
Protein: 15 to 30 percent of your calories
Carbs: 5 to 10 percent of your calories
Note that this can vary by person, depending on how each individual body responds to certain foods, as well as each person's activity level. To help you balance your diet correctly, you can use an app on your mobile device or online. See Resources on page 154 for apps that can help you balance your diet to optimize it for ketosis.
Reducing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet doesn't mean that you can't eat the things you love — you just need to consume them smartly and in moderation. While we all need carbohydrates (carbs) for fuel, not all carbs work the same way in our bodies. Some carbs burn quickly, while others burn more slowly.
And that's where the recipes in this book come in. If you love baking and eating baked goods but want to keep eating them while keeping a low-carb profile, you can do it! Here you'll find a range of recipes that use low-carb baking flours, such as nut flours and coconut flour, as well as low-carb sweeteners. Let's talk about these ingredients first, so you can familiarize with what's needed before you begin baking.
I use almond and coconut flours for the recipes in this book because they have the greatest health benefits of all the low-carb baking flours, they're readily available, and they have distinct characteristics that make them great for baking.
When it comes to coconut flour, there's so much to love: it's high in fiber and protein, low in carbohydrates, and gluten-free. It's made from the fiber-rich dried coconut that remains after coconut oil is extracted from coconut flesh. A pure, natural, one-ingredient product, it's a healthy alternative to wheat and other gluten-free flours and works well in a wide variety of recipes that call for flour. It's also higher in protein than most gluten-free flours — including oat bran and ground flaxseed — and has about the same protein content as buckwheat and whole wheat flours, making it nutrient-rich while also being wheat-free.
You won't need a lot of flour to bake something with coconut flour, but it does require a binding agent, which usually means at least one or two eggs. It also requires more moisture than usual, so you'll notice that many recipes have added liquid to aid in moistening the batter and the final baked product.
When a cake or other baked item includes coconut flour, I recommend letting the batter sit for a few minutes to give the coconut flour time to absorb the moisture in the batter. You may notice the batter getting a bit thicker after some resting time.
Coconut flour also has the effect of yielding lighter baked goods because it is not as heavy as nut flour. A little bit goes a much longer way, with great-tasting results.
COCONUT FLOUR: BETTER FOR BLOOD SUGAR
Blood sugar (also referred to as blood glucose) is the amount of glucose in our blood, which we rely on for energy. Blood sugar increases after we eat, and our bodies respond to the increase by releasing a hormone called insulin to control the level of sugar in our blood so that it doesn't get too high. A rapid drop in blood sugar, on the other hand, is controlled by a hormone, which stimulates the release of more sugar in our blood. This balancing of blood sugar is at play all the time and especially after we eat.
Because the carbohydrates we eat are broken down into glucose, they have a greater effect on our blood sugar. Food and meals that are high in carbohydrates, for example, can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, which forces your body to respond. This sudden rise stresses the body as the pancreas pumps a large amount of insulin to manage the rush of blood sugar. Over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to or complicate various health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and hypoglycemia, and can affect weight gain and overall health.
Fortunately, coconut flour helps keep our blood sugar at a healthy level thanks to its high fiber content. The fiber in coconut flour is low in digestible carbohydrates, so it doesn't have the same effect on our blood sugar compared to other carbohydrates such as wheat grains, and rice. To give you an idea of how high in fiber it is, coconut flour has four times the amount of fiber as oat bran and two times that of wheat bran! As this fiber goes through the digestive system, it helps digest food, makes us feel full, and cleans out other residue before leaving our bodies.
ALMOND FLOUR AND OTHER NUT FLOURS
Almond flour and other nut flours, such as cashew and pecan, have the same benefits as coconut flour — they are low in carbohydrates and help keep blood sugar at a healthy level.
Almond flour, or blanched almond flour, is finely ground, raw, blanched almonds. Blanched almonds have had their skins removed. I prefer blanched almond flour because it has a mild flavor and can be purchased in a very finely ground state. Baking with it imparts a texture similar to all-purpose flour. It's one of my favorite low-carb flours, both for its flavor and for its texture. It tastes great in baked goods such as cookies, cakes, muffins, and pie crusts.
When measuring almond flour and other nut flours, I use the scoop and sweep method; however, you can also measure by weight. I provide both volume and weight measurements in my recipes so you can use the method you prefer.
I use this conversion for almond flour: ½ cup almond flour = 48 grams.
ALMOND FLOUR: HIGH IN PROTEIN AND GOOD FATS
Almond flour is higher in protein and monounsaturated fats (the same type of healthy fats found in olive oil) than most low-carb flours. In addition, almonds contain healthy amounts of vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium.
While you can make almond flour at home, I much prefer buying finely ground blanched almond flour because it is invariably more fine and uniform in texture than what I can produce at home. While it's cheaper to buy almond flour in bulk, it also has a shorter shelf life than regular flour, so if you're not using it often, store it in the refrigerator. See resources (page 154) for more information on where to purchase almond and other nut flours.
Cashew flour is most often made from raw cashews as opposed to roasted cashews. You can make it yourself by grinding raw cashews in a food processor or high-speed blender with a dry blade (such as a Vitamix) to make a fine flour. Just be careful not to overgrind the flour into nut butter.
Hazelnut flour is made from ground-up roasted hazelnuts and is easy to make at home (and usually less expensive). The nuts must first be roasted and cooled, then skinned (see previous page) and ground. Store any excess flour in the freezer, as nut flours tend to go rancid more quickly than other flours.
Pecan flour is ground-up roasted pecans. It goes well in recipes for hardy muffins, sweet breads, pancakes, and waffles. To make it at home, place toasted and cooled pecans in a food processor or dry high-speed blender and pulse until the pecans become a fine flour. Store any excess flour in the freezer.
There are a variety of low-carb sweeteners you can use in your baking. You can use one type of low-carb sweetener or a combination of low-carb sweeteners.
Your choice of sweetener will most likely come down to the taste you prefer as well as the other ingredients in the recipe. Each low-carb sweetener has distinct characteristics. Some are better used in baking, while others can be used in almost all recipes. To help you compare common low-carb sweeteners, I created the chart on page 15. See also the resources section on page 154, for brand names of each type of sweetener.
I tested the recipes in this book using Swerve, which is a combination of erythritol and oligosaccharides. Erythritol is commonly used because it can easily be substituted in an equal amount for the sugar in a recipe.
Swerve and other sweeteners sometimes have what is referred to as a "cooling" taste. You can reduce this effect by using erythritol and stevia in a 3:1 ratio, respectively.
SWEETENERS WITH BULK
Low-carb sweeteners can be divided into two categories: those that have "bulk" and those that don't. Sweeteners that have bulk add to the volume and weight of a recipe, as well as the texture, just like traditional sugar. For example, erythritol and xylitol have bulk, so they will be good when sweetening an item such as a cake or a cupcake.
Stevia and monk fruit are not bulk sweeteners, so they can be used to sweeten a recipe without adding volume or weight to it. They don't measure like sugar and are not measured in equal amounts to replace sugar. For example, stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so only a few drops are used. The same goes for monk fruit: you only need a small amount to replace a cup of sugar.
To determine which sweeteners are best to use in recipes, refer to the Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart on page 15, as well as the manufacturer's conversion recommendations.
All the recipes in this book are based on a 1:1 conversion for sugar, so you'll want to use an alternative sweetener that can be substituted in equal parts (1:1) for sugar. For example, when baking the Cinnamon Bun Muffins on page 61, which call for "½ cup low-carb sweetener (1:1)," you'll want to use a sweetener that has bulk and can be substituted 1:1 for sugar, such as Swerve, Lakanto, or erythritol. If you prefer to use erythritol plus stevia instead of ½ cup of Swerve, remember that these sweeteners don't measure in the same 1:1 ratio, so you'll want to change it to 1/4 cup erythritol plus 1 teaspoon powdered stevia extract. In such cases, it's best to refer to the chart on the opposite page or to the conversion instructions on the box itself for calculating how much to use. For a smoothie, instead of using 1 tablespoon of bulk sweetener, you can use the equivalent number of stevia drops the manufacturer recommends to substitute for 1 tablespoon of sugar.
GOOD OILS AND FATS Oils are obtained by pressing oil-rich plants to release their oils. Oils that I like to use and that you'll see in this book include olive oil, nut and seed oils, and coconut oil. I try to stick with those that are minimally processed, so I look for words like "cold-pressed" and "unrefined." I do also use refined oils on occasion, but only for high-heat cooking and only from trusted brands and sources, such as Spectrum Organics. I also use butter and ghee, organic and from grass-fed animals whenever possible.
I don't mind spending a little extra money on healthy fats and oils that are minimally processed and from reliable sources because the fats they contain are essential to good health and help our bodies absorb and process fat-soluble minerals and vitamins. While I use both dairy-based and dairy-free fats in my cooking, you can easily bake and cook dairy-free using just coconut oil and other plant-based oils and fats.
That said, it is important to keep in mind the smoke point of various oils when cooking and baking. For high-heat applications, I avoid using oils that smoke or burn at a lower temperature, such as olive oil, butter, and many unrefined oils. The oils that can be used at cooking and baking temperatures above 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4) include refined coconut oil, ghee, and high-heat cooking oil. Look at your labels (they should say) if you're unsure of your oil's smoke point, and be sure to stay under that mark when heating.
MILKS AND CREAMS
There's a variety of creams and milks that can be used in the recipes in this book. Some are dairy-based and some are dairy-free. Many of the dairy-free milks, such as coconut, hazelnut, and almond milk, are subtly sweet, making them a nice substitute for dairy-based milks.
My favorite dairy-free milks are almond and coconut milk. I recommend choosing brands without additives and thickening agents. It's fairly easy to make them from scratch if you have the time (see next page); you just need to have some raw almonds or unsweetened shredded coconut on hand (see resources, page 154).
If you have no need to avoid dairy, feel free to use regular milk in any recipe that calls for dairy-free milk, unless noted otherwise. Likewise, if you do need to avoid dairy, sub in dairy-free milk.
In many of the recipes that call for milk, you can also use heavy cream, yogurt, or sour cream to produce an even richer baked result. For dairy-free whipped cream, you can make Coconut Whipped Cream (page 100).
HOMEMA DE COCONUT MILK
I find it convenient to whip up a small amount of coconut milk when I'm out of store-bought or just need a little bit of milk and don't want to open a whole container or can. You can make this in a matter of minutes if you're rushed for time, whereas almond milk requires about 8 hours of soaking time.
1 cup (64 g) unsweetened shredded coconut (see resources, page 154)
cups (475 ml) water
1. Combine the coconut and water in a blender container and let soak for about 2 hours. Or, if you're short on time, soak the coconut in hot water (about the temperature of hot tap water) for a few minutes and move on to the next step.
2. Blend in a high-speed blender on the highest speed for a minute or two.
3. Strain the coconut milk through several layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a pitcher or bowl; discard the solids. Store the milk in the refrigerator. It will keep for several days.
YIELD: 2 cups (475 ml)
Almond milk is a naturally sweet, dairy-free milk that can be used in place of any other milk in the recipes in this book. All you need are almonds, water, and a bit of preplanning.
1 cup (145 g) raw almonds
2 cups (475 ml) water
1. Place the almonds in a bowl and cover them with water. Soak overnight or for at least 8 to 10 hours.
2. Drain and rinse the almonds and place them in a high-speed blender. Add the 2 cups (475 ml) water and blend until the almonds are completely ground up; I blend mine for about 1 minute.
3. Strain the almond milk through a nut milk bag or several layers of cheesecloth into a pitcher or bowl; discard the solids. Store the milk in the refrigerator. It will keep for several days.
YIELD: 2 cups (475 ml)(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Everyday Keto Baking"
Copyright © 2019 Erica Kerwien.
Excerpted by permission of The Quarto Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Getting Started with Keto Baking 8
Chapter 2 Breads, Biscuits, and Pizza 24
Chapter 3 Waffies, Pancakes, Muffins, and Donuts 50
Chapter 4 Cakes and Cupcakes 77
Chapter 5 Brownies, Cookies, and Bars 102
Chapter 6 Pies and Tarts 114
Chapter 7 Soups and Smoothies 125
Chapter 8 Savory Bites and Meals 134
About the author 155