Simple Grain-Free Rustic Coconut “Cornbread” (No Sugar; Paleo & Vegan Variations)

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Photo above: a double batch with a cast iron loaf and 6 muffins for kid snacks.

I’m not strictly Paleo as you might have noticed.  I’m also not vegan.  I have vegan loved ones and frankly I adore vegan food but I was farm-raised on eggs, bacon, sausage, and a whole lot of red meat.  I attempted vegetarianism when I was in high school and made it a year before I became anemic, despite all my research and careful combining of proteins.  I tried again in college (University) and lasted about as long. It took literally years to wean my body off of such a high animal protein diet.  Six years, to be precise.  I was in Scotland at the time and admittedly my reason had more to do with my budget as a missionary than any altruism.  I like animals, but growing up on a farm did produce in me a certain level of callousness. We had mountain lions surrounding our farm when I was young and my parents farm is still affected by coyote raids.  They run off with chickens, kill cats and periodically come uncomfortably close to little foals, dogs and even children.  When I was a teenager I had to do my fare share of putting chickens out of their misery after a coyote attack.  So… I am not even remotely squeamish about animal “processing” or meat for that matter.  I do however try to be aware of the meat we consume and prefer that it come from responsible sources rather than the cruel environments so much of the American public relies upon.  My parents raise their own meat.  Oddly enough they do not eat their chickens… which all exist in this mystical protected world.  They roll in the dust, eat their corn and all the scraps from the table and are lovingly rounded up each night to protect them from sneaky predators.  Essentially they are lazy, contented pets that lay eggs.  We benefit greatly from this.  My husband is not an egg fan but I love that I have access to them for baking and for the kids.

Earlier in the year some friends of ours all did Whole30 and I’ll be honest… I followed along kicking and screaming for all of 24 hours before I decided I didn’t care and just wanted my milk kefir and coffee.  There were quite a few Marco Polo’s going around with me touting my new Nomadic Kazakhstani Diet in a defiant protest of Whole30.  I was anything but supportive… but at least I had a good laugh.  Little did I know I would begin the most difficult medical diet of my life shortly thereafter and it would go on for a whopping eight months. No… thank you no.  I’m glad to be done to say the least.

Lately I have been experimenting with coconut flour because one; it is not an inflammation causing grain and two; it absorbs a lot of eggs.  I have found it is incredibly difficult for me to regulate my hormones without animal protein in my diet and I love that the coconut flour and egg combination produces a high protein, metabolism enhancing, omega fatty acid packed superfood… in the form of a gorgeous bready baked good.  Also it’s nice not to have those weird adrenaline induced out of body experiences where I am yelling in a high pitched screechy voice over nothing in particular and then collapse into a fetal position spewing tears and snot.  Any other Introverted HSP mothers dealing with adrenal fatigue out there?

Anyway…………….  This recipe is an evolution of my Kefir Skillet Cornbread made with Einkorn, but I have taken it one step further by making it grain free and much, much higher protein.  It is lovely with soups, stews and chili.  Gentle tweaking will make it pass for cornbread or rustic Italian polenta bread.

I have a strong preference for cast iron, and did not wrap my loaf pan in parchment as people so often have to do with grain free baking.  I heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and preheat the cast iron pans.  I give them a spray of coconut oil before I dump in the batter, which is scalded upon contact and therefore does not stick.  This loaf fell out of the pan when I turned it over.

On another note, I have found that with certain recipes Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour works better, with others Anthony’s and some recipes it seems to make no discernible difference.  With pie crusts and “cornbread” Bob’s Red Mill comes out the obvious winner.  With the Anthony’s I find I am guzzling water by the time i finish a slice, whereas the Bob’s Red Mill version has more texture and fat in it.  I also think it lends more flavor.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, ghee or butter flavored coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

5 drops liquid stevia

1/2 cup milk kefir, buttermilk (or dairy free milk of choice + 1 tsp cream of tartar or apple cider vinegar)

4 eggs (or 4 flax or chia “eggs” for a vegan version.  On that note if you opt for chia you will have almost the same amount of protein as you would with eggs, albeit not of the hormone balancing type)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt or pink salt

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour

Method:

Preheat a cast iron skillet or bread pan in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small wok or skillet over medium heat melt your ghee, butter or coconut oil and then turn off the heat.

Add the unsweetened applesauce or pureed apple, liquid stevia drops, milk kefir or dairy free milk and whisk until smooth.

Add the eggs and whisk.

Add baking soda, salt (and A.C.V. or cream of tartar if you’re using an uncultured, dairy free milk) and mix.

Add the coconut flour slowly, whisking as you pour.

Remove the hot bread pan or skillet from the oven, spray it with a bit of coconut oil and scrape the batter into the bread pan.

Place it in the oven and lower the temperature to 375 degrees.  Bake for 35 minutes and check with a toothpick. When it is brown and a toothpick comes out clean it is ready to serve with butter, ghee or butter flavored coconut oil.

Variation: Sub the butter/oil with extra virgin olive oil (no need to heat) and mix in a bit of oregano for a more polenta style loaf.

I hope you enjoy! We certainly did.

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