Two and a half weeks ago I ordered Paleo Bread made with Coconut flour from Julian Bakery. (A friend of mine on Facebook “liked” Paleo bread so that’s how I came to know about Paleo bread and Julian Bakery.) About a week and a half after my order, they finally charged my account. Today (a week later) I received my two loaves of Paleo bread. I paid for 2nd day air. (You have to freeze it as soon as you get it home, according to the instructions in huge words on the shipping box.)
I have never used coconut flour before so I wanted to try some bread made from it before buying flour and trying to bake something myself. The description on their website sounded good. I’ve been looking forward to trying items made with other kinds of flour and I’ve heard good things about coconut flour.
Above is a picture of the loaf (with only one thin piece missing) in comparison to my tea pot and Honey Bell oranges from QVC. The loaves of bread are very small. Here is a picture comparing it to a regular, unopened loaf of Pepperidge Farms bread and below comparing slice to slice so that you can see the size of each piece.
My husband likes white bread because it’s light. So, I’m really trying to find a bread he can enjoy that isn’t heavy, but that is a healthier option for him. We’ve tried all different kinds of “store bought” breads. I’ve made many different kinds of homemade breads. They’re tasty. But, they’re still loaded with carbs. So, it seems coconut flour is a low carb option.
Looking forward to trying the bread I opened the box right away, put one loaf in the freezer and opened the other loaf. I took out one slice. I’m sure that Julian Bakery will not appreciate my observations, but I would like to share with others so that you can have a more informed decision about buying it than just the information on their website. I cannot say, in good conscience, that I enjoyed even one bite of this bread.
- One loaf of Paleo bread made from coconut flour is $7.99 (plus shipping). Two loaves and shipping cost me $31.15. That was a price I was willing to pay to try it once because I couldn’t find anything like it where I live, but normally I’m far more budget conscious. That much money can buy me 7 loaves of good, tasty bread (not the light fluffy stuff) in a local store.
- The bread is very heavy and chewy. (I’m not talking about a pleasant chewy like crusty Italian bread. It’s more like a soft rubber band kind of chewy.)
- Each piece is quite small and thin compared to a “normal” slice of bread.
- It has a rather odd smell coming out of the bag. (I can’t even begin to describe the smell. It’s not strong, but it is odd. It won’t bother most people, I’m sure. However, my nose is quite sensitive and I can smell things before others do. I have to wonder what ingredient is causing that smell.)
- There is no flavor to the bread at all. It’s extremely bland and I am very disappointed. There is clearly not enough salt in it, either, if any.
In order to give it a little flavor, I put a small amount of apricot jam on the bread. That didn’t make it any more palatable. It was simply apricot jam on a bland, unpleasantly chewy, slightly odd smelling piece of bread.
I do NOT like wasting food. But, I can’t figure out what to do with this bread. It doesn’t seem absorbant enough to soak up an egg mixture to make a tiny piece of french toast, but I’ll try that. I’ll try it as a sandwich bread and other things. And, then I’ll report back. Perhaps as a backdrop to something else (like tuna salad, ham, or turkey) it will be just fine.
- I made cinnamon toast. I toasted and toasted and toasted it. After 9 minutes in the toaster, it still wasn’t toasted although the outside crust was a tiny bit crisp and tasted (for a slight moment) like toasted sesame seeds. Then that flavor (from the outside crust only) disappeared. So, I put butter and cinnamon sugar on it to see if that would improve the flavor. It sat on my plate for a short period of time and there was a liquid that came out of it onto the plate… but, it was still rubbery-chewy (as if I had chewed up a soft rubber band and had tiny bits of it in my mouth), bland, and had that unpleasant odor about it. It wasn’t crispy like toast. The texture never changed.
- Instead of wasting an egg, I experimented to see if it would soak up liquid. I soaked a piece in water for a minute. When I picked it up out of the water with two fingers, it still held its shape and stood out from my fingers, perfectly straight as it had before the soaking. None of the water had soaked in and there wasn’t any evidence of softening like a grain flour would do. So, I know that I can’t make french toast from it. That will just end up being scrambled egg around a rubbery bread.
- I tasted a little bit with a piece of cheese. The cheese didn’t do anything for the taste or texture.
I can’t imagine what to do with this bread. I won’t be wasting any further ingredients trying to figure out what might help because the taste and texture (along with that slight odor) still remain.
UPDATE – June 15, 2013
Since writing this review I have purchased and used coconut flour in a number of my own recipes. Not one of them smelled like this bread. Not one of them was rubbery or unbearably chewy and inedible like this bread. Not one of them tasted like this. I have to conclude that it isn’t the coconut flour. The horrible taste, smell and “rubberiness” of this paleo bread is unique to this bakery. From other reviews I’ve read, the almond paleo bread from this bakery is the same way.
Each of the breads that I’ve made using coconut flour turned out tender and tasty. I’ve made bread, pancakes, and baked donuts with it. If you use coconut flour, remember that it absorbs a lot of liquid. You will have to let it sit for about 10 minutes if you’re making pancakes or anything with a batter. It also has a mild scent of coconut which comes out in your breads. But, I highly suggest that you get your own coconut flour and experiment with your own breads, pancakes, cupcakes, etc.
UPDATE – September 20, 2013
I get my coconut and almond flour from Bob’s Red Mill because I live in the country without the convenience of stores that would carry this type of thing. Click on Bob’s Red Mill to find out more about coconut flour. I’ve come to believe that homemade is always better than store bought and whole, natural foods are better than processed foods. Bob’s Red Mill also has a bunch of recipes for coconut flour.
Remember my comment about Paleo Bread being like a chewy rubber band and that it wouldn’t soak up any liquid? I had to chuckle because I found an online demonstration of what I had experienced. It never occurred to me to test it in these ways.