Sara writes below regarding baking with coconut oil:
Hello Chef Teton,
I received my ‘Essential Cuisine DVD set’ order, so thank you. I can’t wait to watch them, it’ll be nice to learn from ‘friendly YOU’….as my teacher :-) !!
I’VE LEARNT ‘FATS/OILS’ SHOULDN’T BE HEATED. But, if we’re still going to cook with ‘fats/oils’….. I’ve learnt from you & others that the healthiest cooking ‘fat/oil’ is Coconut Oil. And it’s great to get this confirmation from you too….as I became confused with so many different ‘fats/oils’ stating they are the healthiest for cooking.
I'd now like to learn how to cook with it properly. And, as you cook with coconut oil, is it Ok to ask you the following? If not, no problem, just let me know. I’ll understand.
I tried to cook with coconut oil (Organic Virgin Coconut oil) for the first time, by using it to bake a cake, but found it difficult to use. I first melted it a bit in the microwave to partly soften it, but then when added to water for the cake batter, it stuck together in formed clumps. The coconut oil wouldn’t soften when mixing it with a wooden spoon & by memory, i think it hardened more. (In future, when making a cake to bake or using it in any recipe e.g. a raw dessert...before using coconut oil: should I melt it until it’s FULLY liquid?) Unfortunately, i threw it out & didn’t get to cook with it. It was also then difficult to clean off kitchen items, e.g. bowls, spoons, as it stuck to them. I wiped off as much as I could before they were soap washed.
I've also read, when one actually cooks (e.g. baking, frying) with coconut oil...that foods stick to the cookware e.g. pots & pans, making them difficult to clean.
Have you ever had these problems?
Do you know how I could prevent or deal with the hardening of coconut butter when trying to cook with it & then also, trying to clean it off kitchen items, e.g. pots, pans?
Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Please forgive me for not responding sooner. Hmmmm. Not sure how to answer you as I don't fully understand what you are doing with the coconut oil. Also, my experience with baking is somewhat limited, as I usually use Coconut Oil for Raw Food Recipes, but do bake with it for cookies and some cakes. I will answer the best I can.
First, when baking cookies I always melt the coconut oil first. Beware though, do not get it too hot. I have only made cookies and carrot cake with it as I am not a big baker. When making most cookies, the directions are to melt the butter and then add the sugar. I did this once when the coconut oil got too hot and it crystallized the sugar almost instantly. So, get it warm enough to be liquid and then add your sugar. Blend and then remove from heat and add to the flour mixture. Then I would add my eggs or any other liquid. If they are very cold, the coconut oil may harden. I would not suggest a microwave as you are destroying the molecular structure of the coconut oil and it may get too hot. My cookies come out great!
As for the cake, the same thing. I just melted it first - but just don't get it too hot. It should not clump unless it is very cold in your house and/or you are mixing it with something cold. It hardens really easily when cold. I live in Hawaii, so my coconut oil is almost always liquid except for a few days in the winter.
As for cleaning, just use hot water. I never have a problem with some hot water and a little mild dish detergent (environmentally friendly, of course). Are you using a good quality coconut oil, one that is nice and white?
I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Chef Teton