Dry beans: soaking vs brining?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by french fries, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. french fries

    french fries

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    When soaking beans overnight, do you use only water, or do you make a brine with water, salt, bay leafs, thyme, onions etc...? 

    If you use a salted brine, does that make the final cooked beans tougher? 
     
  2. teamfat

    teamfat

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    About 75% of the time I put some garlic glove slices in the water, that's about it.

    mjb.
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've heard arguments that it toughens them, that it flavors them evenly and so on. I hear more voices that it toughens them but I've not seen any science on it yet. 
     
  4. wlong

    wlong

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    Here is a clip from America's Test Kitchen.

     
  5. michaelga

    michaelga

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    It also depends a lot upon the bean, generally speaking the smaller the bean the thinner the skin and no need to brine/soften it.

    Personally I'm a big fan of the method I posted in this thread     I'll repost here without the pics for simplicity.

    Steve Sando knows a few things about beans and has a great selection, I believe he's almost in your back yard.

    Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans

    - don't throw out the soaking water

    - don't add salt add salty flavouring

    - epazote enhances bean flavours, but don't overdo it
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  6. teamfat

    teamfat

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    I've also heard that if you cook the beans in fresh water, not the soaking water, it reduces the, uh, "end effect" - personally I've never noticed a difference.

    mjb.
     
  7. michaelga

    michaelga

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    Actually the more beans you eat the better your body becomes at digesting them.  ie. less "end effects"

    so does epazote...
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  8. french fries

    french fries

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    That's pretty much what I've heard as well. I did a test once with chickpeas, doing a "quick brine" (boil in salted water, stop the heat and let rest for a couple hours), and even after a couple of hours of cooking the chickpeas were still rather.... "al dente". However they did taste better, or at least that was my (biased) impression. 

    @MichaelGA  thank you for sharing that recipe, I will try it. I have never cooked with epazote so that will be new to me. I have also found that you can use the soaking water to cook the beans, which reinforces their flavor. I'm lucky not to have to worry about "end problems", as we consume a lot of fibers in our family, and I believe our bodies got quite accustomed to them by now. 

    @wlong  thanks for the clip I'll check it out. 
     
  9. maryb

    maryb

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    Every time I have cooked beans in a salty stock they have taken longer to cook and did not reach that creamy texture I like in a soup...
     
  10. teamfat

    teamfat

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    It just now occurred to me that when making bean dishes I don't salt until near the end, adjusting the seasonings. I often do cook them with some sort of salted pork, though, so it is most likely relying on the bacon or ham or whatever to add the salt.

    mjb.