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Thread: What is the secret for velvety hummus?

  1. #1
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    What is the secret for velvety hummus?

    I went to a party this weekend, and they picked up amazing food from a local Mediterranean restaurant. It was all really great, but the hummus was particularly amazing. It suited my idea of hummus perfectly, and I have no idea how to make it just like that at home. The hummus was very thick and smooth, almost like the texture of greek yogurt. There was no graininess when I rubbed a pinch between my fingers. I couldn't detect any additional fatty feel, over the normal, so I don't think they overloaded it with oils or tahini. I have leftovers, and I find it interesting that a portion will hold it's place on a plate without oozing or spreading out. It does not have a whipped texture, just smooth. I have made hummus is the blender and the food processor at home, but they are never like this. So, what tool are they using, a Vitamix? Is there a major difference in their recipe--do they skin the chickpeas? I don't know, but I don't think I going to make my own hummus anymore. Theirs was my very favorite. However, inquiring minds want to know...what makes hummus this smooth?

  2. #2
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    Lynne Rosetto Kasper (sp?) has said on her show, The Splendid Table, that the best way to get that velvety texture is to skin the chickpeas after they're cooked. I found that to be incredibly tedious, & while it was somewhat velvety-er, not worth the effort.
    The best recipe I've found yet is Mark Bittman's from "How To Cook Everything Vegetarian."
    Connie

  3. #3
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    I haven't tried it yet, but found this recipe yesterday. I thought the use of the olive oil in the water to cook the beans sounded interesting and plan to try it soon.

    http://www.sassyradish.com/2011/06/hummus/#more-1950

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ccooney View Post
    Lynne Rosetto Kasper (sp?) has said on her show, The Splendid Table, that the best way to get that velvety texture is to skin the chickpeas after they're cooked. I found that to be incredibly tedious, & while it was somewhat velvety-er, not worth the effort.
    The best recipe I've found yet is Mark Bittman's from "How To Cook Everything Vegetarian."
    That does sound tedious and is the loss of good fiber. If you wanted that velvet texture, maybe press it through a potato ricer (and freeze the skins for a soup)

  5. #5
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    First, you have to soak the dried chickpeas longer-- 24 hours, with one change of water, is good.

    Additionally, for extra silken texture and awesome nutty flavor, add this formula, made into a paste with a little more cold water, to the soaking liquid:

    for 3 cups dried chickpeas, use

    2 Tbsp flour
    2 Tbsp salt
    2 tsp baking soda

    This is a trick I learned from Nigella, who got it from Anna del Conte. I use it whenever I cook dried chickpeas, not just for hummus. It makes a big impact. Rinse off before cooking in fresh cold water.Then cook them till tender with no seasonings.

    Save back a little of the cooking water, and blend it in, a little at a time, till you have the texture you want.

  6. #6
    Take the pot off heat and put it under running cold water. The cold water *shocks* the skins into cracking so that they come off and float to the surface. Gently stir the chickpeas and as the more skins come to the surface remove them with a slotted spoon. Keep stirring and remove the skins that surface until most have been removed.
    The cardiologist's diet: - If it tastes good spit it out!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADM View Post
    Take the pot off heat and put it under running cold water. The cold water *shocks* the skins into cracking so that they come off and float to the surface. Gently stir the chickpeas and as the more skins come to the surface remove them with a slotted spoon. Keep stirring and remove the skins that surface until most have been removed.
    good tip! i only skin them when i'm cooking for someone of Middle eastern descent, or for a client, in my far past.

    a good method might change that.

  8. #8
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    I agree: good quality chickpeas soaked well and skinned. I'm going to try the Bittman recipe next time, as my very favorite is this one, which I found in Food and Wine magazine, supposedly the best hummus in Israel:
    http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/i...cocktails-2009
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  9. #9
    This was discussed in the latest issue of Cook's Country. Here's what they had to say..."we determined that pureeing the chickpeas with just the garlic and spices (other ingredients added later) worked. In the drier environment, the skins were obliterated and disappeared into the hummus in just 15 seconds." And they used canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained.
    Last edited by Linda in MO; 02-20-2012 at 07:35 PM.

  10. #10
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    So many tips, thanks! So skinning has its proponents. I have not tried that, nor have I tried the tip of pureeing the chickpeas first before adding liquids.

    What machine is best for making smooth hummus? Food processor, regular blender, or powerful blender like a Vitamix? And, part 2, how was hummus pureed to a smooth texture before there were powerful electrical appliances? Just curious.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by lantana View Post
    And, part 2, how was hummus pureed to a smooth texture before there were powerful electrical appliances? Just curious.
    Slave power!
    The cardiologist's diet: - If it tastes good spit it out!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lantana View Post
    So many tips, thanks! So skinning has its proponents. I have not tried that, nor have I tried the tip of pureeing the chickpeas first before adding liquids.

    What machine is best for making smooth hummus? Food processor, regular blender, or powerful blender like a Vitamix? And, part 2, how was hummus pureed to a smooth texture before there were powerful electrical appliances? Just curious.
    I use my food processor but if I had a Vitamix I'd try that instead.
    I think skinning is pretty traditional but it is TEDIOUS, so I pretty much limit myself to removing the ones that slip off naturally after the beans have been rinsed in cold water.
    I assume it, like pesto, was made with mortar and pestle.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  13. #13
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    I just saw this article from Ruth Reichl and thought of this thread:

    "Great hummus is soft as velvet, with the seductive smoothness of whipped cream; the first time you meet it you experience an almost irresistible desire to slather it on your body. Then you taste it and instantly know how wrong it would be to waste a single bit. If you have never encountered hummus this good, you are in for a treat. Here’s how to make it.

    1. If you want great hummus, you must use dried chickpeas--the canned ones will never become transcendent. Buy the smallest ones you can find, and plan ahead to soak them overnight.

    2. Soak and cook the chickpeas with a little baking soda to make the beans very tender. Baking soda creates an alkaline environment that allows water to penetrate the chickpeas more easily; it make an enormous difference, giving you a hummus that’s as smooth as satin.

    3. Remove all the skins from the chickpeas after cooking. This takes a while, but it’s a meditative process that I find enormously pleasurable. Don’t rush it.

    4. Cool the chickpeas before you puree them: The starch crystals in the chickpeas break down more easily when they are warm; this is not a good thing, since it will make the puree pasty. Cool your chickpeas, and you’ll have lighter hummus.

    5. Use the best tahini you can find. Its flavor will dominate the hummus, so if you’re using one that is bitter (like the most commonly available commercial kind), your hummus will suffer. Taste it before adding it to the puree; it should be slightly sweet and quite nutty, and it doesn’t have to be fancy—I use one I buy at a kind of earthshoe / vegetarian store.

    6. Use good garlic - and not too much. The flavor of hummus is so subtle that one bad clove of garlic is a death sentence.

    7. Hummus will keep for a couple of days, but like many things, it is at its peak the moment it is made. (The great hummus places in the Middle East all make theirs daily.) Rush your hummus to the table as soon as you have made it.

    8. Serve your hummus with good pita and an array of condiments, allowing your guests to tailor their hummus to their own tastes.

    Hummus
    1½ cups dried chickpeas
    1 tablespoon baking soda plus ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    ¼ to ½ cup raw (as opposed to roasted) tahini
    1 lemon, juiced
    1-2 garlic cloves
    salt, to taste
    olive oil, to taste
    parsley, to taste
    cumin, to taste

    1. Put the chickpeas in a colander and go through them carefully, discarding small stones and broken peas.

    2. Wash the chickpeas, and put them in a bowl with enough water to allow them to double in volume. Stir in a tablespoon of baking soda and soak them overnight.

    3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and put them in a large pot. Cover with about 5 cups of water (the water should be about 2 inches above the beans) and add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. Bring the water to a boil, turn the heat down, cover, and cook over low heat until the chickpeas are very soft; it should take about two hours. If the water cooks away, add more. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.

    4. Rub the chickpeas between your fingers under cold running water to remove the skins. Put on some music; it’s a time-consuming process.

    5. The chickpeas should be cool now. Put them in a food processor with the garlic, and lemon juice, a quarter cup of the cooking liquid and the tahini. (How much you use will depend on your taste; traditionally you’d use about half a cup, but I find that makes the sesame flavor too dominant for my taste.) Process for 4 or 5 minutes, until it is smooth and creamy, with the dreamy texture of just-made frozen custard. It should be very soft and smooth. If it’s too thick add more liquid. Add salt to taste.

    Now’s the fun part. You have just created a lovely canvas. Top it with a glug of good olive oil, some chopped parsley, a smattering of ground cumin. Or toast some pinenuts in butter and top the hummus with that. Add cayenne, zatar, chopped onions or some pomegranate seeds. Be creative, or just revel in the best hummus you’ve ever had on its own."

    Enjoy!
    Jill

    "Be kind to your neighbor... he knows where you live." -Brian Copeland

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by oct2189 View Post
    I just saw this article from Ruth Reichl and thought of this thread:

    "Great hummus is soft as velvet, with the seductive smoothness of whipped cream; the first time you meet it you experience an almost irresistible desire to slather it on your body. Then you taste it and instantly know how wrong it would be to waste a single bit. If you have never encountered hummus this good, you are in for a treat. Here’s how to make it.

    1. If you want great hummus, you must use dried chickpeas--the canned ones will never become transcendent. Buy the smallest ones you can find, and plan ahead to soak them overnight.

    2. Soak and cook the chickpeas with a little baking soda to make the beans very tender. Baking soda creates an alkaline environment that allows water to penetrate the chickpeas more easily; it make an enormous difference, giving you a hummus that’s as smooth as satin.

    3. Remove all the skins from the chickpeas after cooking. This takes a while, but it’s a meditative process that I find enormously pleasurable. Don’t rush it.

    4. Cool the chickpeas before you puree them: The starch crystals in the chickpeas break down more easily when they are warm; this is not a good thing, since it will make the puree pasty. Cool your chickpeas, and you’ll have lighter hummus.

    5. Use the best tahini you can find. Its flavor will dominate the hummus, so if you’re using one that is bitter (like the most commonly available commercial kind), your hummus will suffer. Taste it before adding it to the puree; it should be slightly sweet and quite nutty, and it doesn’t have to be fancy—I use one I buy at a kind of earthshoe / vegetarian store.

    6. Use good garlic - and not too much. The flavor of hummus is so subtle that one bad clove of garlic is a death sentence.

    7. Hummus will keep for a couple of days, but like many things, it is at its peak the moment it is made. (The great hummus places in the Middle East all make theirs daily.) Rush your hummus to the table as soon as you have made it.

    8. Serve your hummus with good pita and an array of condiments, allowing your guests to tailor their hummus to their own tastes.

    Hummus
    1½ cups dried chickpeas
    1 tablespoon baking soda plus ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    ¼ to ½ cup raw (as opposed to roasted) tahini
    1 lemon, juiced
    1-2 garlic cloves
    salt, to taste
    olive oil, to taste
    parsley, to taste
    cumin, to taste

    1. Put the chickpeas in a colander and go through them carefully, discarding small stones and broken peas.

    2. Wash the chickpeas, and put them in a bowl with enough water to allow them to double in volume. Stir in a tablespoon of baking soda and soak them overnight.

    3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and put them in a large pot. Cover with about 5 cups of water (the water should be about 2 inches above the beans) and add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. Bring the water to a boil, turn the heat down, cover, and cook over low heat until the chickpeas are very soft; it should take about two hours. If the water cooks away, add more. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.

    4. Rub the chickpeas between your fingers under cold running water to remove the skins. Put on some music; it’s a time-consuming process.

    5. The chickpeas should be cool now. Put them in a food processor with the garlic, and lemon juice, a quarter cup of the cooking liquid and the tahini. (How much you use will depend on your taste; traditionally you’d use about half a cup, but I find that makes the sesame flavor too dominant for my taste.) Process for 4 or 5 minutes, until it is smooth and creamy, with the dreamy texture of just-made frozen custard. It should be very soft and smooth. If it’s too thick add more liquid. Add salt to taste.

    Now’s the fun part. You have just created a lovely canvas. Top it with a glug of good olive oil, some chopped parsley, a smattering of ground cumin. Or toast some pinenuts in butter and top the hummus with that. Add cayenne, zatar, chopped onions or some pomegranate seeds. Be creative, or just revel in the best hummus you’ve ever had on its own."

    Enjoy!
    Jill, I so enjoyed reading this article. I especially liked where skinning the chick peas can be part of your meditative process. I meditate but never in the kitchen. Will start looking for other ways too

  15. #15
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    I am up for trying this method! I'm making the grocery list now and will get the dried chickpeas to make this over the weekend. Thanks, Jill.

  16. #16
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    4. Cool the chickpeas before you puree them: The starch crystals in the chickpeas break down more easily when they are warm; this is not a good thing, since it will make the puree pasty. Cool your chickpeas, and you’ll have lighter hummus.


    That is a new tip for me in humus making - thanks.
    Anne

  17. #17
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    Thanks, oct2189! Will have to try this.
    Connie

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by margeslp View Post
    Jill, I so enjoyed reading this article. I especially liked where skinning the chick peas can be part of your meditative process. I meditate but never in the kitchen. Will start looking for other ways too
    I'm back in school right now, and some of my most productive learning happens when I'm listening to lecture recordings while doing repetitive cooking tasks like this.
    Jill

    "Be kind to your neighbor... he knows where you live." -Brian Copeland

  19. #19
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    Eureka! That makes velvety hummus! I had heard of the soaking with baking soda and of the skinning of the beans after cooking. I had not heard of cooling the beans first to firm the starch and processing them cold nor the 4-5 minute time in the food processor. That was the most surprising. I set a timer for 4 minutes--that is much longer than I ever processed hummus in the past. Thanks, Jill for all these tips that combined to produce very thick and smooth hummus.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by oct2189 View Post
    I'm back in school right now, and some of my most productive learning happens when I'm listening to lecture recordings while doing repetitive cooking tasks like this.
    In college I had 10 3-act plays to read every semester for my theater courses. I used to climb into bed at night with the book and my knitting and would have a whole skiing sweater done in no time flat

  21. #21
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    I haven't gotten around to removing the skins from the chickpeas when I make hummus, but still plan to try that! I thought this post might of interest (and I had no idea that chickpeas grew in their own little pods!):

    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2012/07...uss/#more-9630

  22. #22
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    OMG, more hummus love! What a great a great piece!! Wish I were there. Or at the very least wish I had some fresh, homemade hummus. Thanks for posting

    I'd never heard about cooling the beans first (good to know) although it hasn't been an issue for me, as I've found that I do best when I make hummus-production a three day endeavor. I know it sounds protracted, but it's actually less annoying for me that way. Day 1) Set the chickpeas to soak. Day 2) Cook, drain, and skin(-ish) chickpeas. Day 3) Make the hummus.
    Normally I just buy the chickpeas from the bulk bins at WF, but I was at Rancho Gordo last Saturday and couldn't resist picking up a bag there - it's one of two beans they sell that did not originate in the New World, and they grow them because so many ask for them specifically, so what the heck.
    I think I see hummus in my weekend!
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Meganator View Post
    I haven't gotten around to removing the skins from the chickpeas when I make hummus, but still plan to try that! I thought this post might of interest (and I had no idea that chickpeas grew in their own little pods!):

    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2012/07...uss/#more-9630
    Great article

  24. #24
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    I never in a millions years would have thought there would be so much to say about chickpeas!

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by atifhussainxpt View Post
    I haven't tried it yet, but discovered this formula
    Huh? What did you just say? Reported.
    "I hate housework. You make the beds, you do the dishes, and six months later, you have to start all over again." - Joan Rivers.

  26. #26
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    just made the super velvety hummus and the process works perfectly! I think doing the alkaline soak/cook method with baking soda is what made all the difference. My chickpeas were like mush. Not the texture I would have wanted for eating chickpeas in a salad or dal, but perfect for hummus!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    ... my very favorite is this one, which I found in Food and Wine magazine, supposedly the best hummus in Israel:
    http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/i...cocktails-2009
    Canice, thank you for posting this link! I made this over the weekend and it's fabulous! Super smooth. I doubled the recipe and blended it in my VitaMix dry container. Mmmmmm!!!

    I also tried out a recipe from a friend that uses canned artichoke hearts and no tahini. It's very,very good, too. I will post that one later. I made that one in my food processor so it was chunkier. I think I will try making it in the VitaMix next time. I love adding the zest of the lemon along with the fresh juice.
    Lynne


    To err is human, to forgive, canine.
    -- Anonymous

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden1225 View Post
    I also tried out a recipe from a friend that uses canned artichoke hearts and no tahini. It's very,very good, too. I will post that one later. I made that one in my food processor so it was chunkier. I think I will try making it in the VitaMix next time. I love adding the zest of the lemon along with the fresh juice.
    that's a neat idea... I've seen prepared artichoke hummus a few times, but never bought it.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by heavy hedonist View Post
    that's a neat idea... I've seen prepared artichoke hummus a few times, but never bought it.
    That sounds a lot like the gourmet Cucina & Amore - Artichoke Bruschetta. It is a great appetizer on crusty baguettes and a YUM pasta sauce! Even online it is often out-of-stock. I've made my own clone - roughly using their list of ingredients (I added the Parmesan and parsley.)

    Artichoke Bruschetta, or Pesto

    2 14 ounce cans artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
    3/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
    1/4 cup parsley
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 teaspoons lemon zest
    1/4 cup olive oil, more if needed

    Place artichokes in a food processor; pulse until mostly smooth. Add the cheese, parsley, lemon juice and zest and olive oil. Pulse just to blend. Makes 2 1/4 cups.
    "I hate housework. You make the beds, you do the dishes, and six months later, you have to start all over again." - Joan Rivers.

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