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Old 02-13-2019, 02:26 PM
kaylasdad99 is offline
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What's the matter with my Crock Pot?


Okay, THREE TIMES in the past month I have attempted to make a slow-cooked recipe with dried beans in my crock pot. Each time I have pre-soaked the beans overnight, used plenty of water in the crock pot, and let them cook for upwards of eight hours. And each time, the damned crock pot has failed to get the beans to absorb enough liquid to soften, so that I was required to transfer the beans to a dutch oven and continue cooking them on top of the stove.

The appliance (under two years old) is a Crock Pot Model# SCCPVP400-S. Can anyone tell me if this model simply doesn't get the food to a high enough temperature to cook dried beans?

This is more than a mere inconvenience. In early January, I was transferred to a new shift at work, one that has me out of the house from about 1:30 pm to 11:00 pm (for the past ten and a half years, I've been on a 9:30 pm to 6:00 am schedule). This means that I have to serve kaylasmom her dinner AFTER I get home from work, so having the meal cook itself while I'm AT work strikes me as the most (only) effective way of accomplishing that.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:30 PM
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Do you have a thermometer that you could check the temperature of the water?
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:39 PM
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I have SIX thermometers (meat, candy, ear, talking, oral, and rectal), and it never occurred to me to check.

I'm going to try meat first. What temperature is needful for say, dried pinto beans?
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post


I have SIX thermometers (meat, candy, ear, talking, oral, and rectal)
I suggest sticking to the first two.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:52 PM
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I think your pot is crapping out on you. It may still be under warranty. Go online and contact the company. They may replace it. I have had one crockpot for about 10 years. It actually cooks too hot. It has one setting dial, on or off. I have to watch it. A newer one I have, a oval with temp and timer is more reliable. But too large for a lb. of dry beans. I'm gonna buy a new smaller one when I catch them.on sale. Anywhoo, I'd check with company if it were me.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 02-13-2019 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:59 PM
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I've never really found a crock-pot that properly cooked dried beans. Maybe I'm not trying the right ones but of the dozen or more times I've attempted it, none really worked well.

Also, beans often don't soften correctly when there is salt in the water. Cook to soften them first, then season.
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:21 PM
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Also tomatoes or acidic foods can make your beans tough. I didn't believe that but experience makes me think there is something to it.
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Twit View Post
I've never really found a crock-pot that properly cooked dried beans. Maybe I'm not trying the right ones but of the dozen or more times I've attempted it, none really worked well.

Also, beans often don't soften correctly when there is salt in the water. Cook to soften them first, then season.
Yes, the salt thing is true. I've cooked dry beans for years in a crock pot. I don't soak, the most I do is rinse. They've always cooked properly. Unless I wasn't watching and they scorched. Yes, crockpots can burn things especially the older pots.
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:45 PM
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The instruction sheet for your pot says:

Quote:
Beans must be softened completely before combining with sugar and/ or acidic foods. Sugar and acid have a hardening effect on beans and will prevent softening.
Dried beans, especially red kidney beans, should be boiled before adding to a recipe.
Fully cooked canned beans may be used as a substitute for dried beans.
The chili recipe included in the instructions uses canned beans.

I've heard that newer crockpots don't get as hot as the older models used to, so yes, I'd say it doesn't get hot enough to cook beans properly.
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
....I've cooked dry beans for years in a crock pot. I don't soak, the most I do is rinse. They've always cooked properly....
You could well be right. I've certainly not tried every electric cooker on the market. Maybe I'm just using crappy appliances. Stranger things have happened. I wouldn't doubt that older models may get to a higher cooking temp than newer models. Modern consumer safety laws are usually good things but the fact is that older gear was often better. It might burn your house down or give you cancer but dammit, they worked!
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:40 PM
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I've never had a crockpot that can properly cook dried beans. They just don't get hot enough.
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:02 PM
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IDK. I've never had a problem with dry beans. Takes a good eight hours. Maybe my beans are different down here in the south. Humidity or something. I know flour feels the effects of the humid conditions. Hmmm?
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:14 PM
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I use my Crock Pot to make dried beans all the time. I don't even soak them first. The only problem I have had was not putting enough water in. Took some trial and error. My Crock Pot is probably 10 yrs old.

As far as the Crock Pot failing, every Crock Pot I've ever had started cooking too hot when it was getting older, but maybe now they are designed to err on the side of not hot enough.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Twit View Post
Also, beans often don't soften correctly when there is salt in the water. Cook to soften them first, then season.
Although this is common wisdom, at least one experiment doesn't support it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Eats
Long story short: For the best, creamiest, most flavorful beans, season your bean-soaking water with one tablespoon of kosher salt per quart (about 15 grams per liter), rinse the beans with fresh water before cooking, then add a pinch of salt to the cooking water as well.
I've always salted beans before cooking and never had a problem. At least, not one stemming from that: crock pot beans have often steered me wrong.

If you have an instant pot, could you give that a try?
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:36 PM
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Just out of curiosity, I checked my copy of On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. His words were instructive.

“The cooking water’s content of dissolved substances also affects cooking times and textures. Hard water with high levels of calcium or magnesium actually reinforces the bean cell walls. It can therefore slow the softening of the beans or even prevent them from softening fully. Acidic cooking liquids slow the dissolving of cell walls hemicelluloses and therefore the softening process, while alkaline cooking water has the reverse effect. Finally, many cooks and cookbooks say that adding salt to the cooking water prevents beans from softening. It does slow the rate at which they absorb water, but they do eventually absorb it and soften. And when beans are presoaked in salted water, they actually cook much faster.”

My standard way of cooking bean is to soak them for 6-12 hours in unsalted, unseasoned water. I then boil them in the soaking water until mostly done. Usually 60-90 minutes. Most people say to discard the soaking water and boil them in fresh. I disagree, by discarding the soaking water, you lose a lot of flavor and nutrients. If keeping the soaking water pushed the flatus producing elements into socially dangerous territory, so be it. When the beans are cooked, drain them while reserving the cooking liquid. Put the cooked bean into a dutch oven, add seasoning and flavors as desired and add enough of the cooking liquid to just cover the beans. I continue cooking in a 250 degree oven until the beans are done to my liking, adding more of the cooking liquid as needed.

This process works for me. It's about as sophisticated as a brick but it's basically bulletproof.
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Last edited by Alpha Twit; 02-13-2019 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:56 AM
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A bit of baking soda too.

CMC fnord!
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Twit View Post
Just out of curiosity, I checked my copy of On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. His words were instructive.

“The cooking water’s content of dissolved substances also affects cooking times and textures. Hard water with high levels of calcium or magnesium actually reinforces the bean cell walls. It can therefore slow the softening of the beans or even prevent them from softening fully. Acidic cooking liquids slow the dissolving of cell walls hemicelluloses and therefore the softening process, while alkaline cooking water has the reverse effect. Finally, many cooks and cookbooks say that adding salt to the cooking water prevents beans from softening. It does slow the rate at which they absorb water, but they do eventually absorb it and soften. And when beans are presoaked in salted water, they actually cook much faster.”

My standard way of cooking bean is to soak them for 6-12 hours in unsalted, unseasoned water. I then boil them in the soaking water until mostly done. Usually 60-90 minutes. Most people say to discard the soaking water and boil them in fresh. I disagree, by discarding the soaking water, you lose a lot of flavor and nutrients. If keeping the soaking water pushed the flatus producing elements into socially dangerous territory, so be it. When the beans are cooked, drain them while reserving the cooking liquid. Put the cooked bean into a dutch oven, add seasoning and flavors as desired and add enough of the cooking liquid to just cover the beans. I continue cooking in a 250 degree oven until the beans are done to my liking, adding more of the cooking liquid as needed.

This process works for me. It's about as sophisticated as a brick but it's basically bulletproof.
That's some mighty fine bean skills you got there. Hows about an invite?
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:54 AM
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That's some mighty fine bean skills you got there. Hows about an invite?
If you bring the cornbread?
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Last edited by Alpha Twit; 02-14-2019 at 06:55 AM.
  #19  
Old 02-14-2019, 07:11 AM
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Are your beans reasonably fresh? Old beans often never soften.

I try to presoak in salted water. But with old beans, it never works out, even using standard methods of cooking on stovetop.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:59 AM
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Has your water become harder? Calcium cross-links pectin.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:09 PM
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I had an original old ceramic crock pot for years (the kind that can't be submerged in water) and it was a pain to clean, but I never had any issues with it. I have a new crockpot with a removable pot and it is very disappointing. I have to bring to plug it in and let it heat while I bring the food I am preparing to a boil before I put it into the pot! Otherwise it takes an hour or more longer before the food is cooked.
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