I can't cook beans for beans.

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yes i soak them! i think i'm just retarded.

caitlin oh no (caitxa1), Tuesday, 13 December 2005 13:11 (seventeen years ago) link

I also had a hard time trying to find a successful way to prepare dried beans. Even after soaking them for a long time (and not adding salt to the cooking liquid!), most beans would come out either too firm or crunchy, or else they would just dissolve into a bean porridge - I could never manage to make beans that retained their shape yet were soft enough to mash easily with a fork.

Then I stumbled upon a thread on one of the Egullet cooking forums, that stated the best way to cook dried beans to perfection, was to put them into a heavy pot, UNSOAKED, with lots of SALT ADDED, and cook them for a couple hours in a 250F degree oven.

I was wary about trying this out, as it contradicted the received wisdom to never salt beans until they are basically done cooking, or else their skins will harden and extend the cooking time. But I tried it anyway, and they actually came out great, much to my surprise.

If anyone is interested, here's the recipe:



1 lb. unsoaked dried beans
6 to 8 cups water
2 teaspoons or more salt
seasonings, if any


Heat oven to 250 F. Place beans, water, salt, and any seasonings* into a heavy pot and bring to a simmer on stovetop. Cover pot, put in oven, and cook until done, usually a little over two hours.

* they say not to add anything acidic (vinegar, hot sauce containing vinegar, tomatoes, etc) to the beans while they are cooking, as it will harden them.

I make black beans for burritos using this method almost every week; I like to add a tablespoon or more of liquid smoke to the cooking liquid to give them additional flavor.

I also prepare dried split peas, like chana dal or black-eyed peas using the oven-method - they take about 45 minutes to an hour, and need a little less water.

Recently, I cooked some dried chickpeas that had been in a jar on the shelf for over a year. I thought I would need to increase the cooking time substantially, but it turned out they only took about two and half hours to cook.

i like to eat beans, Wednesday, 14 December 2005 22:16 (seventeen years ago) link

five months pass...
Did you know the Turkish make a desert with beans five different kinds, nuts, dried fruit,spices,sugar and milk and yes they do soak them. Sorry I dont know the recipe but could not be too hard too figure out. The Chinese and Japanese make sweet bean deserts also the aduki bean being my favourite. I usually cook beans with a bit of ginger helps reduce the fart factor. Today i bought Persian Red Lentils which I think Ill cook with star anise and ginger and ill have em with herbed lamb sausage and baked sweet potatoe yum!

peat moss, Tuesday, 30 May 2006 09:07 (seventeen years ago) link

although i've never used dry beans myself, from what i hear, some of the problems people may be having with resucitating them may be due to their age - they keep well, but after some period of time they become basiclaly brittle and fall apart when moistened.

also, they need to be dried at the right time when they're fresh. i'm guesing that better-quality dried beans are easier to deal with.

AaronK (AaronK), Tuesday, 30 May 2006 17:43 (seventeen years ago) link

If beans are anything like lentils they need a TON o salt. I can put in over a tablespoon per large pot and it still is only just right. Also at least 3 garlic cloves, and some stock, and then herbs, or tomatoes, or some garam masala/cumin. Num.

Trayce (trayce), Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:55 (seventeen years ago) link

i have figured out how to cook beans and i am now an expert. they're all i eat! a plop of oil, dump some salt in, garlic, let it gooooo

caitlin oh no (caitxa1), Sunday, 4 June 2006 02:24 (seventeen years ago) link

seven years pass...

my soaking and cooking is not working out quite right : /

j., Saturday, 9 November 2013 23:10 (nine years ago) link

what's the matter? I used to be a little impatient when I first cooked beans. it's important to let them go for a little longer when you think they are just done. and salt should never be added when soaking for some reason. those are two things that first come to mind that can go awry.....oh, and don't boil the hell out of 'em, just gently boil a wee bit above a simmer for best results, imo

making plans for nyquil (outdoor_miner), Sunday, 10 November 2013 16:35 (nine years ago) link

I have had luck with the pressure cooker and slow cooker methods! Slow cooker is particularly easy and effective.

quincie, Sunday, 10 November 2013 16:39 (nine years ago) link

i dunno, they got to the point of being edible (and not like in a barely tolerable way) but never truly softened, and i surely let them go longer than long.

i've tried twice now, once with a hot-soften before cooking, and once with a cold overnight soak. similar results each time.

but in both cases i was cooking with other things, and after a certain point i just figured, i couldn't let it cook forever if i wanted to keep any of the other ingredients tasting vaguely like themselves.

j., Sunday, 10 November 2013 22:14 (nine years ago) link

still no luck with kidneys rather than black, either i'm cooking them too hot or the additional ingredients i'm cooking them with are too salty too soon.

j., Sunday, 24 November 2013 01:56 (nine years ago) link

wish i could see what you're doing j. as i have no idea where the problem lies.
cooked a buncha red beans yesterday - soaked 4 hours, drained, rinsed, boiled ~ 75 minutes. done. then added some salt.
so red beans and rice, y'all. never made it before but have eaten a version or two. gonna add some vegetarian sausage to the mix; and cayenne, oregano and smoked paprika are the only other ings aside from the obvious

making plans for nyquil (outdoor_miner), Sunday, 1 December 2013 22:00 (nine years ago) link

nine years pass...

"salt should never be added when soaking" said me ten years ago and i was WRONGO!

Not sure where i read this recently but brining for a day in some salt and baking soda is a bean cooking game-changer. I haven't done this scientifically with a control group or whatever but the jumbo white beans i just cooked in less than a hour took closer to 2 the time before (same batch of Rancho Gordos). Same with black beans last week. Cooked in ~ half the time as the previous time (again, the same batch from RG). Apparently the soda halps break down pectin. Not sure what the salt theory is.

Probably mentioned this elsewhere but Kenji's garbanzo cooking hack gets those done in ~20 minutes! Honest and true

Half Japanese Breakfast (outdoor_miner), Monday, 27 February 2023 16:53 (three months ago) link

beans are inexpensive too

| (Latham Green), Monday, 27 February 2023 18:43 (three months ago) link

yeah, but depending on source you're risking beans that are olde and never properly finish cooking ime. i don't mind paying $7 for a pound of RG or other nice beans. ends up being like a buck/ cooked cup or something which is really nothing for something that can be star of a dish

Half Japanese Breakfast (outdoor_miner), Monday, 27 February 2023 19:06 (three months ago) link

three weeks pass...

Olde Tyme Beanes

| (Latham Green), Wednesday, 22 March 2023 13:44 (two months ago) link

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