Smooth & Creamy Hummus -- it's all about technique

I love smooth and creamy hummus – the kind that is sold commercially and in some restaurants. Despite repeated attempts and experiments, mine has not quite met that standard in that it is a bit grainy. However, I’ve recently been reading (Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country), asking questions and experimenting. And, this last batch of hummus was not only flavorful but also had a smooth and creamy, even silky, texture. I believe this texture it is due to these techniques  . . all of which I’ll apply to future recipes + also use when I remake our tasty Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus:
  • Cook the garbanzo beans in their own liquid for 10 minutes to soften the beans and their skins.
  •  Add half the garbanzo beans to the food processor and blend, then add second half and blend. Completing this step before adding the liquids, helps insure that the skins are broken down.
  • Treat the mixture like an emulsion—adding the liquids and oil slowly to the ground beans.
  • Actually adding a little mayonnaise helps finish off the mixture and adds to the overall creaminess.
Smooth & Creamy Hummus
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh preferred)
6 tablespoons well stirred tahini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
3 to 4 large garlic cloves, roasted*
1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin seeds** (or ¾ tsp. ground cumin)
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Garnishes as desired, such as: extra garbanzo beans, olives & olive oil
  1. Add chickpeas and liquid to a saucepan and heat over medium for 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
  2. Save a few garbanzo beans to use as garnish if desired. Add half of the beans to the work bowl of a food processor and blend, scrape down the sides of processor and grind again; add remaining beans and blend, scrape down the sides of processor and grind again as many times as it takes so that they are chopped.
    After grinding half of the garbanzo beans, I added the rest and continued to blend until the beans were well chopped.
  3. Mix water and lemon juice; add through the feed tube with the processor running for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the tahini and process.
  5. Add the oil, with the processor running, until the hummus is fluffy.
  6. Add the seasonings: salt, roasted garlic, cumin and cayenne.
    Rather than pre-grinding the toasted cumin seeds, I just ground them in the blender. They did not completely turn to powder but were chopped well enough so they did not interfere with the overall texture.
  7. Put the hummus in a bowl, garnish with the whole garbanzo beans and olives; drizzle with some additional olive oil.

*Quick, Toasted Garlic Cloves: Toss four or more cloves with the papery skins still on into a dry pan and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan from time to time, until the skins are charred several places. Let them cool and peel.

**Toasted Cumin Seeds: Toss in a skill and toast over medium heat, shaking and stirring the seeds until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Recipe without photos . . .
Smooth & Creamy Hummus
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh preferred)
6 tablespoons well stirred tahini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
3 to 4 large garlic cloves, roasted*
teaspoon toasted and ground cumin seeds** (or ¾ tsp. ground cumin)
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Garnishes as desired, such as: extra garbanzo beans, olives & olive oil
  1. Add chickpeas and liquid to a saucepan and heat over medium for 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
  2. Save a few garbanzo beans to use as garnish if desired. Add half of the beans to the work bowl of a food processor and blend, scrape down the sides of processor and grind again; add remaining beans and blend, scrape down the sides of processor and grind again as many times as it takes so that they are chopped.
  3. Mix water and lemon juice; add through the feed tube with the processor running for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the tahini and process.
  5. Add the oil, with the processor running, until the hummus is fluffy.
  6. Add the seasonings: salt, roasted garlic, cumin and cayenne.
  7. Put the hummus in a bowl, garnish with the whole garbanzo beans and olives; drizzle with some additional olive oil.
*Quick, Toasted Garlic Cloves: Toss four or more cloves with the papery skins still on into a dry pan and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan from time to time, until the skins are charred several places. Let them cool and peel.

**Toasted Cumin Seeds: Toss in a skill and toast over medium heat, shaking and stirring the seeds until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

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