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Oct 22, 2011 01:05 AM

Bean Soaking Question

Is there any flavor to be gained by pre-soaking white beans - in this case, French Navy Beans - in stock rather than water? I know that the liquid is discarded after the soaking.

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  1. i don't think there'D be any advatnage, but you can get extra flavor by soaking them in salted water. i wouldn't waste stock to soak.

    1. No, I'd use the stock to cook them in.

      1. I never discard the soaking water. It can be used in the final preparation of the bean dish you're making. Or, it can be saved for later use as a base for soup, for example. I sometimes freeze the soaking water if I'm not using it within 3 or 4 days.

        1. The best way is to soak for any beans is a teaspoon of baking soda, cover with plenty of boiling water, soaked overnight with herbs, then

          Fresh cold water and new herbs, always start by boiling vigorously for ten minutes after that, simmer until cooked.

          You now have cooked b beans (as though from a tin) ready for you to assemble with your chosen dish.

          always prepare 500gr of beans, use what you want and freeze the rest.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Naguere

            never heard of soaking with herbs. which ones do you use?

            also, does the baking soda make them mushy?

            1. re: alkapal

              The herb flavour is put in the bean when it soaks.

              Mushy beans, only use a teaspoon of baking soda.

              Never heard of soaking with herbs Eh!.

              There's a new one for ya! alkapal.

              1. re: alkapal

                Baking soda is often used in areas with very hard water; otherwise it's not necessary. Too much soda will result in mushy beans. I've never heard of it being used in the soaking process, especially when you start with boiling water, which is essentially the first quick soak process step, but usually a 1/4 teaspoon soda in the simmer liquid is plenty.

                Read on, plus this is a great bean thread in general:


                Aside from that, I'd soak in a light salt brine, rinse and cook in the stock, herbs and all.

            2. No. Presoak in cold water, then cook in stock. I believe that beans take on the flavors of the cooking liquid and aromatics as they finally soften, toward the end of cooking time. At least that has been my observation. Some people don't like disposing of the soaking water, but I have always done that. One thing to try is to but a bay leaf in the soaking water, and you can retain it in the cooking liquid, but I really don't know if the bay leaf really flavors the beans in the soak. I've never cooked French navy beans. How are they different from regular navy beans?

              2 Replies
                1. re: Naguere

                  Me too, never seen them or had them. But I am curious now, what is this certain 'je ne sais quoi ' you mention? I love navy bean soup and I'm able to get very nice small white good quality navy beans for around .99- 1.29 per lb. I love them as a soup and I puree some of them, much like the recipe they've posted on their website. Just curious to know why you favor them and are willing to spend the extra dollars.