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Soaking Beans(?)
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Scooey
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:54 am    Post subject: Soaking Beans(?) Reply with quote

I'm curious as to why so many cookbooks instruct those wanting to cook dried beans: "Soak overnight".

I'm wondering if it is ok to soak them during the day, as long as it's done during a solar eclipse? In a light-sealed pot?

What about at night, but near artificial lighting--would that spoil the soak?

Or is it not light at all that's the problem. Maybe they need to be soaked when it's quiet? Perhaps soaking in a sensory-deprivation chamber would be a good way?

And why can't they ever tell you how long to soak them? If it's midnight, and I just decided I want beans tomorrow, and I'm getting up at 5:00am, it that long enough?

What is so special about "overnight"?

Perhaps a coy way of saying, "we don't know"?

Ok, I'm done. Fluff me with a fork, and season me to taste...

--Scooey
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, when I first started cooking, I thought it was weird that cookbooks sometimes try to "help" by organizing some (but not all) of the recipe steps to fit in with my daily schedule. You should generally soak dried beans for 6-10 hours (8 hours +/- 2 hours). More isn't usually too big of a problem, less may be more of an issue.
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Soaking Beans(?) Reply with quote

Scooey wrote:
I'm curious as to why so many cookbooks instruct those wanting to cook dried beans: "Soak overnight".

I'm wondering if it is ok to soak them during the day, as long as it's done during a solar eclipse? In a light-sealed pot?

What about at night, but near artificial lighting--would that spoil the soak?

Or is it not light at all that's the problem. Maybe they need to be soaked when it's quiet? Perhaps soaking in a sensory-deprivation chamber would be a good way?

And why can't they ever tell you how long to soak them? If it's midnight, and I just decided I want beans tomorrow, and I'm getting up at 5:00am, it that long enough?

What is so special about "overnight"?

Perhaps a coy way of saying, "we don't know"?

Ok, I'm done. Fluff me with a fork, and season me to taste...

--Scooey


Dude, they're vampire beans. As long as the sun isn't up, you're okay. This is why I soak NO bean. Right in to boiling water they go. Always use a wooden steak (read spoon here) to stir.

Biggles
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About soaking beans--

I've read that adding a little bakind soda to the beans will help get rid of some gas. Should it be used during the soak or during the cooking?
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beanmistress
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:58 am    Post subject: beware the oversoak Reply with quote

I've had a bit of a different experience with soaking my beans. If I soak them too long, some beans, especially black beans, don't seem to soften properly when cooked. They end up with this sort of stiff, crumbly texture that bothers me. So, I try to avoid soaking my beans for more than about 6 hours.

However, since 6 hours is a very odd amount of time to be available for bean preparation, I consider my pressue cooker to be a godsend. I soak the beans for 2-4 hours, then plop them in the pressure cook for 30-45 minutes (depending on the bean), and they come out firm but tender. Perfect!

The only disadvantage is that relatively long soak/cook time (3-4 hours) means that I usually don't eat my beans the same night that I make them. That's fine, they sit happily in the fridge until the next day.

Another trick for getting rid of gas-causing molecules is to skim off the white foam that rises to the top in the first 5-10 minutes of boiling the beans. I learned this from Deborah Madison's cookbook, and it's one of the best bean tips I've ever used.

Happy cooking!
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georgex5



Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I read somewhere was to soak the beans overnight, then boil them for two minutes to get rid of some of the gas. I do this but then I let them stand for an hour or so, then I rinse them thoroughtly, stirring them thouroughly. This brings out a lot of foam.
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LAN3



Joined: 24 Mar 2006
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dad's secret for degassing the beans is this: Soak the beans until they're plump, and then change the water. I don't know why, but don't cook the beans in the water they soaked in. I usually like to take the beans, post-soaking, and check a second time for sticks and rocks-- they are exceptionally rare, but I've also bitten down on a small stone while eating a pleasantly mushy bite of Red Beans and Rice.

I trust my dad on this one-- he grew up just outside of New Orleans and literally had homemade Red Beans and Rice at least once a week until he was out of college. And it works pretty well for me. There's also Beano!

As for the baking soda, I don't know if it helps-- the gas comes from indigestable sugars that are eaten by bacteria in our our intestines, rather than our digestive system itself. However, a small amount of baking soda (takes very little-- quarter to a half a tsp for a pound of beans) will do wonders to keep black beans from turning gray. The soda should be there in the first heat-up, but I don't know about soaking with baking soda.

Not hard to find modern recipes, though, that skip the pre-soak and use a short (30-45 minute?) boiling process to force beans to plump and soften. Good time to have your ham-hock in there. Still, change the water before cooking, IMO.
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opqdan



Joined: 25 May 2006
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LAN3 wrote:
My dad's secret for degassing the beans is this: Soak the beans until they're plump, and then change the water. I don't know why, but don't cook the beans in the water they soaked in. I usually like to take the beans, post-soaking, and check a second time for sticks and rocks-- they are exceptionally rare, but I've also bitten down on a small stone while eating a pleasantly mushy bite of Red Beans and Rice.

I trust my dad on this one-- he grew up just outside of New Orleans and literally had homemade Red Beans and Rice at least once a week until he was out of college. And it works pretty well for me. There's also Beano!

As for the baking soda, I don't know if it helps-- the gas comes from indigestable sugars that are eaten by bacteria in our our intestines, rather than our digestive system itself. However, a small amount of baking soda (takes very little-- quarter to a half a tsp for a pound of beans) will do wonders to keep black beans from turning gray. The soda should be there in the first heat-up, but I don't know about soaking with baking soda.

Not hard to find modern recipes, though, that skip the pre-soak and use a short (30-45 minute?) boiling process to force beans to plump and soften. Good time to have your ham-hock in there. Still, change the water before cooking, IMO.


"America's Test Kitchen"'s latest episode was on boston baked beans. Their science desk did a test with how changing the pH of the water affected the cooking of the beans. I can't remember the exact results (although I do have the episode recorded, so I could find out), but adding more raising or lowering the pH even a little for soaking produced beans that were either too hard, or actually exploded in the pot.

They also mentioned that their testers found no difference in beans that were soaked before cooking. In a shorter cooked recipe, it might be noticable, but in something like Boston baked Beans that cooks for 4-6 hours, soaking is useless.

I seem to remember watching somebody (Alton Brown?) who said that discarding the soaking water was a good way to reduce gas problems. I can't test this as no amount of beans has ever caused me even the slightest distress (any different from my normal "distress" that bothers my fiancee 24/7).
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LAN3



Joined: 24 Mar 2006
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, I forgot about that episode of ATK-- I have seen it.

It varies with bean to bean, of course-- I love my red (kidney) beans a bit mushy, while black beans should be like overcooked pasta-- hold their shape right up until you bite in.

Hmm, I wonder if there's a comprehensive bean/pH guide out there, or maybe an ambitious engineer....

By the way, Alton Brown has a great term for the 'distress' in question: "Tummy Music!"
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:14 am    Post subject: Why do you soak beans? Reply with quote

The reason for soaking beans is to reduce the phytic acid that chelates minerals and prevents their absorption by the human body - it is for NUTRITIONAL reasons. Wisdom from the ages...
"Phytic acid had been considered an antinutritional factor because of its ability of chelate minerals and impede their absorption and because of the limited capacity of monogastric species to hydrolyze and utilize phosphorus from this molecule. This is of particular significance in legumes, where a large portion of phosphorus is in the form of phytic acid. Heating and soaking in acid solution followed by cooking led to large decreases in phytic acid. Soaking reduced phosphorus content (15.4%)." Copyright 1997 American Chemical Society
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone ever add beano to the water that beans are soaked in?
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dave



Joined: 08 Jun 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would anyone want to de-gas their beans? The gas is part of the reason why I like beans so much. But back to the soaking thing, there's nothing worse than eating beans that are too hard. They won't taste right, and the texture just feels wierd. Instead of mashing the beans with your tongue, you'll be chewing them. Soaking is the best way to get dried beans to an edible texture. Boiling them for an hour or so usually gets the job done as well, but this might lead to the skins falling off.
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Blue Pilgrim



Joined: 03 Sep 2007
Posts: 25
Location: Ilinois

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would guess that changing the water helps with the gas or maybe the flavor -- I do it anyway. Soaking at night? Well I've been sprouting beans, and if you expose them to daylight the sprouts will make chlorophyll. Moslty I've been using garbanzos which are very low in the gas-producing carbohydrates, and making hummus (I use chinese toasted sesame oil and peanut butter because they don't sell tahini around here).

Pinto beans don't sprout well, BTW. Lentils do very well. Change the water twice or three time a day, and in few days you have sprouts. With just small sprouts, when they just start, cook like beans as usual - but they will cook faster.

EDIT: I should mention that when sprouting you don't want to soak the beans the whole time, but after the first 12 hours or so just wet them and drain them -- I use a steamer pot with the beans in the upper section.
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travelerpalm



Joined: 05 Oct 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:07 pm    Post subject: sugars in beans Reply with quote

I got this explanation for gas from beans from Cooks Illustrated:
"For some, the greatest obstacle to preparing beans is not the lack of a good recipe but an aversion to the discomfort associated with digestion. The creation of unwanted intestinal gas begins with the arrival of small chains of carbohydrates (called oligosaccharides) into the large intestine. People cannot digest these molecules efficiently, but bacteria residing at the end of the gut do and produce gas as a byproduct. Some sources say that presoaking or precooking beans alleviates gas production by removing these carbohydrates. Our science editor decided to put these theories to the test by measuring the amount of one of the most prevalent small carbohydrates in black beans, stachyose.

His results gave the theories some credence. Beans soaked overnight in water and then cooked and drained showed a 28 percent reduction in stachyose. The precooking, quick-soak, method, consisting of a one-minute boil followed by a soak for an hour, was more effective, removing 42.5 percent of the stachyose. Though these results were encouraging, we thought we could do better.

We tried several recommended ingredients that are purported to "neutralize" the offending compounds as beans cook: epazote, kombu (giant kelp), bay leaves, and baking soda. None of these seemed to do much in the pot, though it is possible that they act only during digestion.

Our conclusion: Though the quick-soak method is not our first choice because of its negative effect on the texture of the beans, if beans cause you significant discomfort, this approach was the most effective at reducing the amount of the offending compounds."
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The Yakima Kid



Joined: 15 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
About soaking beans--

I've read that adding a little bakind soda to the beans will help get rid of some gas. Should it be used during the soak or during the cooking?


It destroys vitamins. Don't do it. A simpler way of reducing gas is to discard the soaking water and rinse the beans well before cooking them. The stacchyoses in the water will be discarded; and you will actually lose fewer nutrients this way.
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