I have found that my baked beans come out much better when I soak overnight rather than the quick-soak or no-soak methods.
There was a thread about brining the beans...
... and I think I might give that a try the next time I make baked beans. I had never heard about that approach before.
I've found that beans + acid = hard, tough beans, and would even err on the side of cooking them first based on one batch I did of beans in tomato sauce.
vafarmwife and cheryl: do you find that just soaking is sufficient? Do your recipes include tomatoes or other acids?