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Jan 13, 2013 11:41 PM

Hummus ; what went wrong?

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???

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: Violatp

      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

        Those green shoots is the garlic trying to consume itself.

      2. 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

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

        2. 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. 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

              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

                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

                1. re: Grunde

                  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. 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.