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Old 02-23-2009, 01:35 PM   #1
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Dried Bean Soak

On a recent episode of Americas Test Kitchen they made
white bean soup - they soaked the beans overnight in
heavilly salted water claiming the soak would prevent the
'skin' from falling off during cooking.
They rinsed the beans well before cooking in unsated water.

Has anyone ever heard of this method ?

(they compared it to brining meat)

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Old 02-23-2009, 02:13 PM   #2
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Soaking overnight is common. Most dry beans packages suggest it. Using salt is reasonable to add flavor to the beans. I can't say if it's effective in keeping the skins from falling off.
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:29 PM   #3
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I almost always soak overnight, even when the recipe suggests a "quick soak" (beans brought to boil for a few minutes, then allowed to sit for an hour or two before rinsing and using).
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:00 PM   #4
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The reason I thought this unusual is I was taught
that salting beans during cooking would toughen them.

I also go with overnight soaking vs the quick method.
I also add powdered garlic to the soaking water.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:02 PM   #5
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Me too! I soak dry beans overnight...I've never done the soak with salt, but don't see where it would hurt anything..... As for keeping the skin from falling off during cooking...If the end result was to be soup (pureed?) I don't see what difference it would make if they fell off or not..... Wonder if the salt would toughen the skin???
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike in brooklyn View Post
The reason I thought this unusual is I was taught
that salting beans during cooking would toughen them.

I also go with overnight soaking vs the quick method.
I also add powdered garlic to the soaking water.

Salting during cooking doesn't toughen them. That theory has been disproven by food scientists. If you don't use salt the beans will be bland and you can't improve their flavor after they're cooked.

Not sure about soaking in salted water.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike in brooklyn View Post
The reason I thought this unusual is I was taught that salting beans during cooking would toughen them...

Not true. Salting during the soak is just a good was to add flavor.

Acidic ingredients, on the other hand, DO toughen the beans. They should be added in a later stage of the cooking process.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:08 PM   #8
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I nearly always soak my beans overnight, but NEVER with salt. It has nothing to do with the skin, but can toughen the beans themselves in a way that no amount of cooking will amend. I'm surprised that no one's heard/mentioned not salting beans until they're well into cooking. It's not a "new-fangled" thing.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
I nearly always soak my beans overnight, but NEVER with salt. It has nothing to do with the skin, but can toughen the beans themselves in a way that no amount of cooking will amend. I'm surprised that no one's heard/mentioned not salting beans until they're well into cooking. It's not a "new-fangled" thing.
That's the way I do it, too. I was taught to do it that way, but I can't say for sure that salt makes beans tough.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:30 PM   #10
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I should have added to my previous post that one time, many years ago, I did soak some dried Great Northern beans in salted water overnight. I cooked those suckers for HOURS, & they were still inedible. And no, they weren't "old", etc., etc. Never soaked in salt water again; never had a problem. No longer willing to experiment with it; not worth it.
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