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May 20, 2008 08:24 PM

Everyone can do this but me!!!!!!

I have a staple of dishes that I make well and spans the globe.
I am the go to guy for all cooking in my extended family.
I have been to a 1 year cooking school.
I worked in the business for 12 years.
I have access to any ingredients/equipment I need.

So why can’t I make a decent pot of baked beans!!???

I am so embarrassed that I can’t get my head around this. Living in New England I’ve been to too many pot lucks where there is this crock pot filled with creamy, brown, somewhat sweet,(my wife is British so she doesn’t like them TOO sweet) baked beans.
I have tried soaking then cooking in the oven. I’ve done the “foolproof – throw it all in and let it go for a day” recipes for crock-pot beans. Joy of Cooking, Fanny Farmer, and others have been tried. Am I not patient enough, should the pot be REALLY sealed? (I use a Le Creuset Dutch oven) Am I not soaking long enough?
Most of the recipes have come out not cooked enough, not creamy, and a bit dry.
Please help!

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  1. Are you too picky? Too hard on yourself?

    1. I'm not a big fan of this dish, but I know that adding salt (and perhaps adding acids) to the beans too early hardens the beans. Could this be the problem?

      1. You will receive much more educated responses than this, but I believe the beans make the difference. Fresh beans, the right variety, will be creamier. Sealing the pot is not the answer. My great aunt Arlene, who died about 20 years ago, made the best baked beans I have ever tasted in a big roasting pan in the oven. They were served at every family occasion I can remember from my childhood until she got too old to cook them. You might want to check out Rancho Gordo for a source of great beans and cooking advice. Good luck!

        1. Cook's Illustrated has an amazing recipe. They test everything a million times so its perfect. Their recipe has never failed me.

          1. Nothing beats a real old fashioned Boston Bean Pot. It's the perfect vessel in which to bake the beans.

            I've been baking beans for years and the simpler the better.
            Soak the beans overnight...not in the oven..drain & rinse....
            Brown sugar, a chunk of salt pork, ketchup, molasses, mustard powder, a peeled onion stuck all around with cloves, freshly ground black pepper..... throw all in the bean pot...
            Bake at 350* for 2-3 hours till bubbly and beans are tender.