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Hummus ; what went wrong?

shaebones Jan 13, 2013 11:41 PM

Made the recipe from Jerusalem this weekend. Followed the recipe and there was something definately off about it. Left a bitter aftertaste. Used fresh garlic and newly bought jar of tahini. What went wrong???

  1. v
    Violatp Jan 13, 2013 11:49 PM

    Did your garlic have those green shoots? I sometimes get a bitter aftertaste if I don't remove those.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Violatp
      hotoynoodle Jan 14, 2013 06:40 AM

      or it could have just been the garlic itself. even though it can last for months in storage, or in the store, if it's less than fresh raw garlic can partake quite a lot of bitterness. i have pretty much stopped using raw garlic in anything.

      1. re: Violatp
        Puffin3 Apr 2, 2013 11:57 AM

        Those green shoots is the garlic trying to consume itself.

      2. h
        heterodoxia Jan 13, 2013 11:58 PM

        I find most store-bought tahinis, no matter how fresh, are bitter. It's a little work, but you can make your own using a (clean) coffee grinder. Thin the ground sesame seeds with oil and pass through a fine sieve if the hulls bother you. Otherwise, unsweetened peanut butter works a charm. The flavor isn't the same, but you'll never have to worry about bitterness.

        1 Reply
        1. re: heterodoxia
          splatgirl Jan 14, 2013 07:50 AM

          +1 to bitter tahini. This has been my experience as well.

        2. beetlebug Jan 14, 2013 05:54 AM

          I'm wondering if it was your baking soda. Maybe you had too much baking soda (or was it baking powder) and not enough water during the cooking stage? That's the only thing I can think of that makes the Jerusalem recipe different then the other hummus recipes.

          Also, do you refrigerate your tahini? Maybe it picked up something from the fridge. I don't refrigerate my tahini anymore and it makes it so much more workable.

          Bummer since it was probably a huge batch of hummus.

          1. r
            rockycat Jan 14, 2013 06:32 AM

            We made that recipe this weekend and thought it was perhaps one of the best versions we've made yet. I'm willing to bet that the bitter taste you object to is completely due to the tahini. I'm extremely sensitive to bitter flavors and I know exactly what you mean. This recipe is very heavy on the tahini and if you're not using an absolutely top-quality tahini, any flavor flaw in the tahini will "shine" through your hummus. The freshness of your tahini is not the issue here.

            What brand did you use? You might want to search these boards for some suggestions on which brands people here like. We ended up ordering many bottles of the stuff from Amazon because our choices are very limited where we live.

            Also, hummus is very mutable. You should alter the recipe to your taste. I prefer a lemon-heavy hummus and will most likely add more lemon next time. You can back off of some of the tahini (which I would prefer but the rest of the family wouldn't) if that suits your tastes. Another note - this recipe seems to be unusually thick. Feel free to add more water as needed to get the consistency you like.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rockycat
              Grunde Jan 14, 2013 06:38 AM

              So what brands of tahini would you recommend? I'm not very experienced, so I'm curious.
              Do you usually get what you pay for, or are there good cheaper brands as well?

              1. re: Grunde
                chazzer Jan 14, 2013 07:02 AM

                Hi, I am rockycat's s.o. and the one who made the hummus. I used Roland, ordered it off of amazon. You need to taste the tahini raw and it should not have a bitter taste.

                Roland is imported from Israel, and I believe produced in or near Nazareth, but any brand imported from either Israel, Lebanon or the Wast Bank should be good. I read somewhere that the Lebanese like a slightly more bitter flavor but nothing like what is sold most supermarkets.

                The other thing to find if you can is the smaler dried chickpeas. In Jerusalem they sell large and small. The small are used in hummus and the large for other things. It makes a difference. I still have some that I brought back this summer, but any good Middle Eastern, Lebanese or Israeli Market should have them.

                The baking Soda helps soften the chick peas and may not be needed based on your water, but it is just easier to use them then to test the water.

                Another good recipe to look at http://www.jannagur.com/108704/Basic-...

                1. re: Grunde
                  chazzer Jan 14, 2013 07:09 AM

                  One other thing on the Jerusalem recipe, I found that I needed to add more water to the hummus then he called for to reach a consistency that I liked. I also used cooking liquid and not ice water.

              2. p
                Puffin3 Jan 14, 2013 06:44 AM

                I used to make make hummus commercially. I sold it to local health food stores and at farmers markets.
                Need more info. Were the chickpeas dried? If so how did you reconstitute them? Is your water hard or soft? Salt and baking soda react quite differently in different types of water. I never used baking soda. Definitely no salt. Overnight soak in cold water. A good rinse. Into large stock pots. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn down heat to med. Skim and add hot water as needed. In a couple of hours the peas were soft. Drained. Into a large commercial food processor. No tahini. Raw sesame oil not the kind used in Chinese cooking. Olive oil and some hot water to find the right consistency. Pinch of paprika. Fresh squeezed lemon juice. Some finely chopped roasted red peppers. Some finely chopped Italian parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. That was one type. I made three other types.
                Very short self life even refrigerated. I made thousands of 500 Mil. tubes of the stuff. Can't stand the smell of chick peas now.
                Off hand I'm guessing the salt and baking soda and maybe your water didn't enjoy each others company. I forgot to mention adding the roasted garlic.

                1. h
                  HillJ Jan 14, 2013 07:37 AM

                  Did you remove the casing from the chickpeas? With the casings left on the texture is completely different.
                  Did you wash the chickpeas really well from their soaking liquid? Sometimes the liquid residue is the culprit.
                  I never add baking soda or salt.

                  1. biondanonima Jan 14, 2013 08:32 AM

                    I don't know this recipe, but if you blended olive oil into it, that may be your culprit. I find that olive oil can get very bitter if processed in the blender - extra-virgin olive oil is very sensitive to agitation and, when blended, releases polyphenols that have a bitter flavor.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: biondanonima
                      splatgirl Jan 14, 2013 10:40 AM

                      an emphatic +1 to this as well. I've stopped making aioli's with EVOO for this reason.

                      1. re: splatgirl
                        Puffin3 Apr 2, 2013 11:11 AM

                        Yeah me too. I now use sunflower oil in my aioli/mayo and hummus.

                    2. JungMann Jan 14, 2013 10:28 AM

                      I don't like the Jerusalem recipe either. I think the generous amount of lemon juice in most Lebanese recipes for hummus bi tahini might mask some of tahini's natural bitterness. This recipe used very little lemon juice and increased the amount of tahini while adding baking soda to the party, which is probably what led to the off flavors.

                      Generally I am happy with my Joyva or Al Wadi brand tahini, but I have heard the Roland recommended before.

                      1. j
                        janejaney Apr 2, 2013 10:46 AM

                        Some olive oil can be bitter. Maybe use a milder version and just drizzle it on top. Don't blend it in.

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