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Thread: How long do I soak dry beans "overnight"?

  1. #1

    How long do I soak dry beans "overnight"?

    I am making my first ever recipe using dry beans (I usually use canned beans in recipes that call for dry beans because it's faster.) When a recipe says to soak the dry beans overnight, exactly how long is overnight...8 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours? I just want to make sure the recipe turns out with beans that aren't crunchy because with my lack of experience using dry beans that's how I am envisioning the recipe turning out right now.

    Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I can't say for sure but 8 hours should be plenty. Don't forget the "quick soak" method if you are short on time. The instructions should be on the bag but you just wash and pick over the beans add them to a pot add enough water to have 2 inches over the beans and cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes turn off the heat (not removing the lid) and let sit for an hour then proceed with your recipe.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Hi MiMo,

    When I soak my beans, it's usually Saturday night to make them Sunday morning. So, before I go to bed, I'll soak them and cook them in the morning. Let's say it's between 9-10 and then cook them between 9-10 in the morning, so about 12 hours. I've also found that beans sometimes have to cook longer (or shorter) than is recommended. I usually check to see how they're doing with a fork. If they're "smushable" (a new word I just came up with!) then they're ready to go. I used to have trouble getting my beans just right, and through the years have discovered patience is key. They take a while, so I make sure I'm going to be home for a couple of hours so they cook until they're done.

    I tried the quick soak method once and it didn't work for me. Not sure what I did wrong, but never tried it again. But that's just me.

    Hope this helps!
    Chris

  4. #4
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    I've never had the quick soak method work for me, either. And, I figure that if you're in a hurry, use canned beans!

    8-10 hours is good, but it will vary by bean and even by package. I know that you can't really soak them too long. So, if you want to start cooking them early in the morning, just start the soaking as early the night before as possible.

    It is definitely worth the time investment. The good news is that it's not a lot of hands-on time. Soak them & forget them. Put them on the stove/crockpot & forget them. The taste is **so** much better, deeper and more complex than canned.

    Good luck with your first try!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Gosh, I am sorry to hear the quick soak method doesn't work for some. I make a lot of soups from dried beans and have not had any trouble.

    Now I am curious about what kind of recipes you are using your beans for.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    quick soak works for me too Kim.
    One thing to be careful of when cooking dried beans - do not add salt or acid right at the beginning. Your beans will NEVER get soft...
    Understand, when you eat meat, that something did die. You have an obligation to value it - not just the sirloin but also all those wonderful tough little bits.
    Anthony Bourdain

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by donleyk
    Gosh, I am sorry to hear the quick soak method doesn't work for some. I make a lot of soups from dried beans and have not had any trouble.
    I've read lots of recipes that call for it. I think I tried it just once, but when they were too hard, decided to then hone my skills of cooking them, which took some time! But I agree with Susan, they're easy, just turn them on and check on them occasionally.
    Chris

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    I never soak my beans, whether quick or slow. What I do is this: While I'm picking over and rinsing the beans, I set a kettle of water to boil. By the time my beans are in the pot, the water is boiling, so I pour the boiling water over the beans (and whatever other ingredients I'm cooking with them, other than salt and acidics) to a depth of about an inch or two over the top of the beans. Then I put the lid on, turn on the burner to a lowish flame, and simmer everything for an hour. After an hour, I stir it all up, put the lid back on, and simmer for another 15 minutes, at which point I check to see whether the beans are softening. If they are, I add any acidic ingredients (tomato, etc.), repeat the cover-simmer routine, and keep checking for doneness every 15 minutes.

    Most of the beans I cook take anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours from the first pouring of the boiling water. But older beans will take longer, and some beans (chickpeas, limas) can take up to three hours. It seems like a long time, but the first hour is no different from the hour you'd wait for the "quick soak" anyway, only it seems to work better, and since you're actually doing the cooking during the first hour instead of letting the water cool down, the second "hour" may actually be less than an hour.

    Does any of this make sense? I think I'm having a case of Friday Brains.

    Cheers,
    Phoebe

  9. #9
    Phoebe - How nice to see you back on the BB!!!

    Thanks for the advice, everyone. I am shying away from the original recipe I was going to make tomorrow. Instead, I have decided to try a baked beans recipe from a cookbook I bought at the Inn at Round Barn Farm in Vermont three years ago. It calls for the beans to be soaked overnight, boiled and simmered, and then baked for 6-8 hours in the oven. I've never slow cooked in the oven for that long, so fingers crossed everything will turn out. Recipe follows in case any of you want to try it, too. For all of the effort I am putting into this recipe, it better be good.

    Thank you again to all of you for your help. I look forward to using your tips with success in the future.

    Baked Beans (Inn at Round Barn Farm recipe)

    1 lb. dried navy beans, sorted and rinsed
    8 cups cold water
    1/4 pound bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
    1 cup beef bouillon
    1/2 cup molasses
    1/3 cup ketchup
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1/2 tsp. dry mustard
    1/2 tsp. curry powder
    Additional bouillon broth

    Place beans in a large saucepan. Cover with water and let soak overnight. Bring soaked beans to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes; drain. Place beans in a greased 3-quart ovenproof deep baking dish. Stir in bacon, beef bouillon, molasses, ketchup, onion, dry mustard, and curry powder. Bake, covered, at 250 degrees for 6-8 hours (uncovering during last half hour of cooking). Add more bouillon during baking so that the beans are always covered with liquid.

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