Originally Posted by pacanis
Let me ask this, are there any homemade beans that can be made in 3 or 4 hours, or do they all require soaking the beans overnight?
Generally speaking dried beans should be rehydrated before cooking. Then they must be cooked. If you are going to bake them, this is done after they are fully cooked. You shouldn't add salt or acidic ingredients early in the cooking process or the beans may never get soft. Also, if you have hard water, your beans may not soften and you should cook them in purified drinking water (not distilled).
If you use a pressure cooker, this can easily be done in less than 3 hours. Here's how:
1. Sort and rinse: Pick over the beans to remove any foreign particles and broken or mishapened beans, then rinse in cold water to remove the milling dust. Time required: 5-10 min.
2. Rehydration: Put the beans in a large pot with 4 to 5 cups of cold water for each cup of beans. Bring them to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for one hour. Drain and discard the soak water. Time required: 1 hr 10 min.
3. Pressure cooking: Read manufacturer's instructions for cooking beans. In general, the process is to place the beans and cooking liquid in the pressure cooker along with vegetable oil or bacon grease (to keep them for boiling over). Never fill more than half full. Bring the pressure cooker up to pressure and cook 5 to 6 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. Double the time if cooking at 10 pounds. Remove from heat and quickly reduce pressure under running water. Taste the beans. If not quite soft enough, finish cooking on the stove top, covered but without pressure. When fully cooked, you can bake them. Time required: 20 to 30 min.
4. Baking: Place fully cooked beans in your casserole or baking dish. Add your seasonings, sauces and additional ingredients. See my recipe, below. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Time required: 45 min.
Total time required for all four stages: Approximately 2 1/2 hrs.
Here's my recipe to finish them off: Drain and reserve most of the cooking water, leaving barely enough to cover. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup tomato puree, 1 - 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and salt, pepper and onion powder to taste. Cook a few minutes and taste the sauce. It should taste very much like canned pork and beans. Transfer to baking dish. Add 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons each of molasses and brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon each of dry mustard and black pepper. If you want onions, dice or grate and add them now. Taste the sauce and correct seasonings as necessary. Add 6 to 8 slices chopped bacon. Add reserved cooking liquid as needed. You want them slightly liquid, but not soupy. Mix together and bake.
If you don't use a pressure cooker, the beans will need to cook about 1 1/2 hrs before baking, adding an hour or so to the total cooking time, but still within your 4 hour time frame.