What happens when you soak beans for too long?

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I was reading a recipe that said "soak the beans in water for a few hours, no more." Which left me asking... what happens if you go more than a few hours? 

When I soak, I typically soak beans overnight, so close to 24 hours before cooking them. 

Sometimes I don't soak at all and cook from dry, that works well too, but obviously the cooking time is longer. 

I wonder if soaking for less time means more flavor if I cook them in a flavorful broth? Like, they'll absorb less water during the soaking, but more broth during the cooking? 
 
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Good question, although I always thought soaking was to release indigestible carbohydrates that cause. . . well, you know. 

I don't have the pro answer, but came here to comment on how dead this place is. Has been for a while. 

And the stats on the front page are kinda funny. Ordo hasn't been here in almost a year. Not sure how accurate they are. Must be "alternative" stats, eh?
 
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I always soak longer than a couple of hours... almost always overnight. My experience with quick-soak or cooking beans from dry is inconsistent results. Maybe, though, I'm just a bit impatient with the longer time required when cooking from dry. In terms of flavor or flatulence, I notice no significant diff between the methods. What seems to drive flavor (and maybe texture) more than anything else is when the salt is added and how much.

Regarding the front page stats... I've long held the opinion that they are rigged!
 
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I also soak beans overnight, sometimes a bit shorter (soak in the morning, cook in the evening).

I don't notice a difference.

Locally, beans are cooked without soaking. The guys say that they are too soft when they are soaked (I actually think it is more of a planning issue....)

I tend to go straight to "new posts" so haven't seen any stats /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
 
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Well I just soaked Cuban beans for 36 hours (not that it was necessary, I just wasn't available to strain them until this morning 2am), making cassoulet tonight, we'll see what happens. Thanks all.
 
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Cassoulet? Really?

Can I come over? 

I'll bring créme brulée. . . 
Hahaha NO DESSERT we'll all be under the table by the way we're done with the cassoulet. 

Talking about under the table, this is what I'm drinking tonight. At around $17/bottle, I find it to be a great price/quality ratio. I recommend it if you're looking for a decent French wine: 

 
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The cassoulet tasted good but the texture wasn't right. Those cuban beans don't break down the same way as the French white beans I'm used to (coco beans), so they held their shape and didn't ooze much starch into the sauce, which did not develop the proper thickness. 
 
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I've had good luck brining beans overnight.  The salt helps soften the skin, but the meat stays creamy when cooked.  Brine, rinse, cook - no salt needed.
 
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My grandmother, who cooked a lot of beans (NewEnglad Baked Beans, primarily) claimed that salt (and molasses to some extent) toughened the bean and should be added late in the bake. But I just read the Serious Eats study that takes your position. I'll have to try it.
 
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I use kombu when I soak beans. It helps to tenderize the beans and break down the raffinose sugars which cause the production of gas. Also the beans get an umami boost. I then use another piece when I cook the beans for the same reasons. Another factoid, if you live at 8,000 feet, don't use salt, at least until you are finished cooking; otherwise you will never be finished cooking them. Don't ask how I know. :~)
 
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They begin to ferment and bacteria and mold will begin to grow.
... or they'll start sprouting and become easier to digest, and healthier? 

Seriously though: I don't suppose they'll ferment or grow mold overnight, or even over several days in the fridge? 
 
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I would think fermentation is only an issue longer than 24 hours, but I can't imagine why anyone would soak them that long
 
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For me any soaking longer than overnight has been unintentional. Stuff happens; plans change. Once I extended soak as an experiment because I bought some dried beans that were so old they could have been Paleolithic. But I've never known anyone to soak beans for that long on purpose.
 
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I have been known to just cook them without soaking.

I know, it's anarchy.    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif
 
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The cassoulet tasted good but the texture wasn't right. Those cuban beans don't break down the same way as the French white beans I'm used to (coco beans), so they held their shape and didn't ooze much starch into the sauce, which did not develop the proper thickness. 
Well... waddya know. The next day I reheated the cassoulet and kind of forget it on the stove top, when I came back to it it was at a rolling boil, the beans had broken down further, released some more starch... and the whole thing was much closer to the right texture of cassoulet!!!
 
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