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Bean Soaking Question

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serious Oct 22, 2011 01:05 AM

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. alkapal RE: serious Oct 22, 2011 05:09 AM

    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. m
      magiesmom RE: serious Oct 22, 2011 06:03 AM

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

      1. Gio RE: serious Oct 22, 2011 06:11 AM

        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. Naguere RE: serious Oct 22, 2011 06:19 AM

          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
            alkapal RE: Naguere Oct 22, 2011 06:23 AM

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

            also, does the baking soda make them mushy?

            1. re: alkapal
              Naguere RE: alkapal Oct 22, 2011 06:44 AM

              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
                bushwickgirl RE: alkapal Oct 22, 2011 10:10 AM

                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:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8090...

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

            2. s
              sueatmo RE: serious Oct 22, 2011 06:41 AM

              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: sueatmo
                Naguere RE: sueatmo Oct 22, 2011 07:05 AM

                French Navy Beans have a certain 'je ne sais quoi ' ,

                http://www.purcellmountainfarms.com/F...

                1. re: Naguere
                  chef chicklet RE: Naguere Oct 22, 2011 11:22 AM

                  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.

              2. chef chicklet RE: serious Oct 22, 2011 11:28 AM

                I think this came up once before and I did try soaking the beans in stock. Not with the french navy beans, but regular small white navy beans. Before I did so, I cleaned them, picked them over rinsed & soaked once, then did another soak in chicken stock which is what I added to the pot. I didn't notice any difference at all, they were good as always.
                I think the real difference in beans is cooking them slow. Not rushed and hasty boiling. I cook them in a crock pot on high most of the day, then lower them about 2 hours before we serve. For me, the real flavor comes from the spices,onions, herbs and that wonderful ham bone.

                4 Replies
                1. re: chef chicklet
                  bushwickgirl RE: chef chicklet Oct 22, 2011 12:00 PM

                  +1.

                  1. re: chef chicklet
                    alkapal RE: chef chicklet Oct 22, 2011 06:38 PM

                    nothing beats the ham bone! i wish some place local just sold ham bones! the honey baked ham store that has been there for years and years has recently closed (in falls church, for you locals).

                    1. re: alkapal
                      chef chicklet RE: alkapal Oct 23, 2011 09:58 AM

                      Ditto alkapal, gosh can you believe some people actually throw it out! The gelatinous quality, the smokiness, etc.. it just adds so much to the beans. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against any other pork in the pot either whether it be ham hocks, bacon or pork or any kind. I have a friend that swears her grandma only used ground beef in her navy beans and she said they were sooo good. I've always been so afraid to try it. But who knows I could be missing out on something just as grand, ya know?

                      1. re: chef chicklet
                        alkapal RE: chef chicklet Oct 24, 2011 05:07 AM

                        ground beef vs. ham bone.

                        no contest! ;-D.

                        ~~~~~
                        isn't throwing out a ham bone like one of the seven deadly sins?

                  2. alkapal RE: serious Oct 22, 2011 06:41 PM

                    french navy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Navy loves white beans. ;-)

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