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Soaking dried beans over night

When a recipe tells you to soak dried beans over night does that mean 8 hours and can I take them out of the water after that and just refrigerate until I get home from work and then make baked beans? Thanks

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  1. I'll be interested to hear what others say. In my experience, soaking can go on too long after 12-16 hours or so. At least with some beans, it starts to split the skins, and, depending on the temperature, a kind of fermentation can begin. So I think 8 hours is good for most--but garbanzo/chick pea and also soy (I think) will take 12--and then I'd drain them until cooking time.

    1. 4 quarts water, 3 tbsp salt, soak overnight or 8 hours.

      9 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        Thanks, these are navy and great northern beans. But can I put them in the fridge after the soak in a covered container and make the baked beans when I get home at 3pm?

        1. re: javaandjazz

          Not a problem. How long do you anticipate cooking the beans?

        2. re: monavano

          What is the up-side of adding the salt?

          1. re: grampart

            It cuts down on the, um, farts. Also, makes the insides creamy while helping to keep the skin intact.

            1. re: monavano

              From what I've read, salting beans when soaking or cooking is "iffy". Some think a salted soak produces a softer skin, others disagree. Cook's Illustrated advises against it. I've never read anything about salt affecting the creaminess or fart production. I soak red and black beans for 10 hours unsalted. They always come out great (except the one time that I used the quick-soak/pre-boil method).Salt may be added near end of cook depending on the type and amount of pork used.

              1. re: grampart

                CI endorses the salt soak, actually.
                My results have been perfection.

                1. re: monavano

                  My understanding is that salt doesn't make much difference, but acid (like tomatoes) *does* make them tougher.

                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                    In recent testing, we’ve found that soaking dried beans in mineral-rich; hard tap water can toughen their skins. Some recipes recommend using distilled water to avoid this issue, but we’ve discovered a simpler solution: adding salt to the tap water, which prevents the magnesium and calcium in the water from binding to the cell walls, and it will also displace some of the minerals that occur naturally in the skins. We found that three tablespoons of salt per gallon of soaking water is enough to guarantee soft skins.


        3. Yes, you can refrigerate them after soaking (out of the water, as you've said) I have also frozen soaked beans, then thawed in the fridge to use. (lost my ambition after soaking overnight)

          1. If you're worried about fermentation, soak the beans before you head off to work. Also, you can start the soaking overnight and just put the beans in the refrigerator.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dave_c

              Duh, why didn't I think of this? Thanks!!!!

              1. re: dave_c

                What about doing the soaking in the fridge (rather than at room temp). Do you think that works?

                1. re: drongo

                  i do this all the time with no problems

              2. The other option is just put them in to soak in the morning before you leave for work.

                1. I read on a recent string here on chow that it's the long soaking time that actually makes the beans gasocious due to the formation of proteins we have trouble digesting.. this has proved true for me.

                  I do the quick soak method and while I'm not completely gas free when I eat beans I did notice a big difference between beans that I soaked over night (having more gas) than the ones I did with the quick soak. (though beans I cooked for a long time without soaking at all we by far the most gas producing - they also tasted the best after simmering for 4 hours with a ham hock. In this case I'm trading a bit of the taste in order to be more pleasant to be around:-).

                  To quick soak beans cover them with a few inches of water - bring boil for about 5 minutes. Let them stand for an hour or so - Drain the beans completely and Change the water! (changing the water to my recollection removes the gasocious properties of the beans).

                  Some good thoughts about it on this thread.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sparky403

                    The gas producing effect of beans is from complex carbohydrates that can't be effectively broken down by our digestive system, so gut bacteria go to town on the complex carbohydrates. Soaking removes some of the complex carbs form the beans and puts them into solution.

                    The traditional overnight soak removes some. The short boil - quick soak removes more, which makes sense, given that higher temperature speeds up or enhances many processes.

                  2. The soaking time can depend on the freshness of the dried beans. I get beans from RanchoGordo which are pretty fresh and only need about 4 hrs of soaking. They recommend no salt til beans are done. Their pintos cook in about 45 min. I have had grocery store beans of unknown age that soaked overnight and cooked and cooked and were never very good. I have also frozen soaked beans -- very convenient to have around and they seem to cook a bit quicker, maybe just my imagination.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ElsieB

                      The frozen beans cooking quicker makes sense to me, I think the expansion of the water would weaken / break the cell walls, which would aid in softening (I think I read it somewhere, awhile ago)

                    2. I usually boil the beans briefly, with some baking soda, skimming off the foam that rises to the top. Once they've boiled, cover, turn off the heat, and let them sit for a few hours. Hours needed depends on type of bean and how old they are. Rinse before cooking. I usually cook a large amount and freeze them in 3-cup containers for later use.

                      A friend of mine takes the boil before soaking technique even further. She boils the beans, seals the pot as tightly as she can, and puts the pot in a nest of towels, to retain heat. She says that the long soaking in gradually cooling water makes for fast cooking and, incidentally, saves on electricity. She has an electric stove, and electricity is vv expensive in Hawai'i.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Felila

                        I do something similar to your friend in Hawai'i - I boil them on the stove then they go straight into my thermal cooker. A large thermos would also work well.

                      2. For Great Northern or other small white beans. Iv'e gotten away with just soaking them for as little as three hours.