Cooking dry beans

If I cook beans that were not soaked for a longer time, will they come out the same?

Bring them to a boil. Cover, turn off the heat and let them sit for an hour. Then cook.

This isn’t going to be an immediate help, but if you’re willing to invest in a pressure cooker you can go from dry beans to finished product in less than an hour. It’s really convenient to be able to cook beans without planning everything out for hours (or even a full day) beforehand.

The key to making good dried beans IMHO is cooking them on low in the crock pot for a looooong time… at least 18 hours and as long as 24. I do soak them overnight, and I saw on some show (maybe Alton Brown’s) that you should put a tablespoon of salt in the soaking water. Then dump out the water and rinse the beans. Then add more water to cook them in. For pinto or maricoba beans, I add a chopped onion, several cloves of garlic, a can of tomatoes, bacon or ham hock, and a can of mild pickled jalapenos. After about 20 hours in the crock pot, these are SOOOOO good, you will cry.

I’m the only anglo in an office with about 20 Hispanics (Mexican-Americans) and EVERYONE told me that my pinto beans were fantastic. I felt quite smug.

P.S. My main point was that recipes that say to cook the beans for only an hour or two-- this doesn’t work. If the beans have ANY crunch left to then, they’ re not done. Don’t know about the pressure cooker. To me, the flavor develops over long slow cooking.

Pressure cookers rock. I just got one a few months ago (cheap model for like $20), and it is a godsend for stews, beans, and stocks.

Anyhow, in my experience, a presoak makes no difference in flavor or texture. The cooking time is a good bit longer and, supposedly, the lack of a presoak makes them more gassy. But, otherwise, it’s fine.

You don’t really have to presoak beans. That was originally done as a way to save on the fuel ncessary to cook them. It takes longer if you don’t soak them first (a couple of hours), but they will still cook.

In my opinion, though, you en up with a better texture if you do a forced soak (what Chefguy described), the draining and rinsing them and starting with new water.

Pressure cookers will work very quickly too, but you have to be careful with them. In my experience they can blast the beans down to disintegrated skins floating in water if you let them go too long.

I’ve read that a pre-soak followed by cooking in fresh water reduces gas production after eating. Old wive’s tale? Truth?

IME pre-soaking or not hasn’t made much of a difference when it comes to gas production. An overnight soak seems to make them more tender, which you want in chickpeas and soy beans, but not in the mushier sorts like black-eye beans, which I start boiling from dry.

Changing waters (both when soaking and boiling) is supposed to help reduce the gas-forming elements. So is boiling the beans with a couple of bruised slices of fresh ginger. However, I’ve never noted much of a difference with either method, so take them with a pinch of salt. (And speaking of salt, I put in salt when boiling beans instead of afterwards, and I’ve never noticed that it makes the skins tougher.)

I read in a couple of different places online that you need to soak kidney beans or discard the cooking liquid because of some toxin in the skins. Dunno how much of a problem that really is. I think it’s more “digestive upset” toxin than “croak and die toxin”, anyhow.

I find that soaking some kinds of beans makes them shed their jackets prematurely. If I’m not mashing the beans I don’t really want that. So, I don’t soak unless they are kidney beans. I use a crock-pot.

Kidney beans must be well cooked as they do indeed contain a toxin. However, the cooking does get rid of the toxin. You do not need to discard the skins. In fact, the fiber is good for you so go ahead and eat the skins. Just don’t eat uncooked beans.

I usually use Chefguy’s trick.

Pressure cookers are pretty handy but I admit I don’t trust them. Still, an Indian housemate of mine made lovely meals quickly with one frequently. You can often get them cheaply at Indian grocery stores.

Since I tend to mush all my beans (like in refried beans but without frying them) it makes little difference, except for cooking time. Of course if you stick to lentils or black eyed peas you don’t have to soak them at all. I found lentils the hardest to cook, if you don’t like mushy beans. At least for me they seem to go from too firm to mushy very fast, so you gotta kind of hang over them.

I use my rice cooker for beans, it works great

Does it matter if I change the water before cooking them?

Yes you should. The elements that cause gas leech into the water. So if you use the above quick soak method, change the water before the final cooking

IMO, pre-soaked beans are less gassy and have a better texture. I’ve quick-soaked for years because I don’t tend to plan ahead that much, but the times I do a full soak, I can tell the difference. It’s not a big enough difference to change my methods as a rule, but it’s there.

I don’t soak the smaller stuff like lentils & blackeyes.

I’ve just started cooking dry beans with a pressure cooker; I’m still working out the kinks. My husband already had a good pressure cooker he uses for dal (lentils) – those he does not soak first. Everything else, I do, either overnight or morning-to-evening. I do drain the soaking water in between.

So far the black beans came out a little soft (I got distracted and soaked them far longer than necessary, though), the kidney beans partially lost their skins, and the chick peas came out absolutely perfect.

The actual cooking’s pretty fast – even with a big batch it only takes about ten minutes for the cooker to come up to pressure and start letting off steam.

“To maintain the color of dried beans, don’t add salt until AFTER they begin to boil”- Mom