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No-soak beans, in the oven, in 90 minutes


Fat Guy
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AMAZING.  it worked.  I can't believe it, especially since these beans have been in my pantry for over a year...possibly 2.  I cooked them for 1 1/2 hours in the oven with my dutch oven.  To make the lid fit a little tighter I used some foil around the rim of the pot.

It really is amazing. I've not encountered anybody who really believes it until he or she gives the method a whirl.

The only reported failures I've heard about, other than failures to follow directions, have had to do with too-old beans -- beans that are likely to be problematic no matter how you cook them.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I can't even imagine. I mean, I've evangelized about this to maybe a dozen people, and it's exhausting. The vindication that comes later on is hardly worth the stress of being treated like a war criminal when you first present the procedure.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The first time I cooked beans (I was. like eighteen) I hadn't read a recipe, and didn't know I was supposed to soak them. Yes, 90 minutes to perfection. I've never soaked bean one.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I was raised in large measure in the US southwest. Mexicans may soak the many beans they eat, but if they do, I've never seen it. I didn't even know you were supposed to soak beans until somebody told me to, about fifteen years ago I guess.

But by then, I was so accustomed to not bothering that making something MORE difficult, rather than less, seemed odd.

And about the salt thing....

I often cook them in chicken broth.

That has, you know, salt in it.

So the idea that you can't add salt during the cooking was also a late-arriving stunner in my kitchen.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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yeah, I used a good hefty pinch of salt and it made the beans taste way better. I still can't believe how well my beans turned out.

you have to understand that everytime I have cooked dried beans (after soaking overnight) they always come out tough and chewy.

I was so excited with the results that I called my boyfriend to tell him about it.....

me: guess what I found out with egullet...

him: oh god what is it now?

I think I am going to have to tell my mom about this

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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I have always soaked beans overnight and then cooked them in the crock-pot. I usually put a ham hock and some onion in the pot as well. So here is my silly question...when using this no-soak-in-the-oven method, can I still put the ham hock and onion in with the beans in the 250F oven!?

Bob R in OKC

Bob R in OKC

Home Brewer, Beer & Food Lover!

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The only beans I'd wonder about this method working with would be garbanzos, limas, broad beans, and runner beans.

Has anyone experimented with those?

I also don't think it's a horrible idea, along with sorting, to give dry beans a good rinse before cooking.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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boy, chickpeas really do need to be soaked. those are tough little suckers. i'm sure you could do it without, but it would be a matter of days rather than hours. i've done runners without problem, though. haven't done limas, but i have done dried favas (broad) and they were fine, too. i don't think it's the size of the bean but the density of the starch (said blithely, without having looked anything up).

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I did some dried favas the other week. They were horribly bitter and I'm not sure why. The beans were purchased from an Italian grocer and labelled as this years crop....

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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I do think the water has an effect. When I first moved up here to the high desert in 1988 and began using the water from my own well - very good tasting, but also high in calcium - I had difficulty cooking dried beans, peas and noted that some of my teas did not brew as strongly as previously when I lived down in the Valley and had city water.

In 1994 when I had my kitchen remodeled, I had a filter system installed on the supply line from the well tank.

It made a tremendous difference in cooking many things, including dried beans, peas, etc.

A Britta water filter is not expensive and does an excellent job and for anyone who is having difficult with cooking certain thing, it would not hurt to try it.

Chemicals in water have an effect on many foods, it just seems to be most evident in these. I also noticed that cruciferous vegetables were not as bright in color as they are now and some colored root vegetables would actually acquire a sort of grey "skin" on the cut surfaces. That no longer happens.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I pretty much gave up soaking a few years ago, I think because I read something about mexicans not soaking their beans, but I have run into problems with a couple of kinds of beans. Garbanzos for one never really get the right texture if they're not soaked. The other one I've had major problems with is cannellini. Maybe I just got bad beans, but I had it happen with two separate batches that I bought that week (also my market rarely carries them, so I doubt they were sitting on the shelf for long). I did a soaked batch of canellini last week from the same store and they cooked in an hour. The only other thing I would say is that I think beans do need to be washed. I never used to wash beans, but I used to soak and throw out the soaking water. However, I have recently gotten some beans (mostly black beans) that were so dirty they actually required rubbing together under water to get them clean. Also, I've found my first rocks in bags of beans recently. Really not something I'd want to bite down on. So..wash those beans.

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A Britta water filter is not expensive and does an excellent job and for anyone who is having difficult with cooking certain thing, it would not hurt to try it. 

Chemicals in water have an effect on many foods, it just seems to be most evident in these.

Has anyone tried using the Britta water filter with calcium=rich well water? If it works to get heirloom the beans cooked to perfection in 90 minutes, I'll convert .

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Hi all --

Well I just gave this a try with some cannellini beans, and overall am impressed. I like my beans a little past al dente, and felt they were still a little too firm for me after 90 minutes in the oven. I took them out and let them sit in their hot water for another half hour, and that got them pretty well to where I like them... Just dressed them with some olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, lots of cracked pepper, and a little feta, and they are delicious! All without soaking!

Next time I will probably leave them in the oven for an hour and forty-five minutes, but all and all, definitely a success. Also, I agree with someone else who mentioned that they seemed to keep their shape a little better than when I soak and boil them.

Emily

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A Britta water filter is not expensive and does an excellent job and for anyone who is having difficult with cooking certain thing, it would not hurt to try it. 

Chemicals in water have an effect on many foods, it just seems to be most evident in these.

Has anyone tried using the Britta water filter with calcium=rich well water? If it works to get heirloom the beans cooked to perfection in 90 minutes, I'll convert .

First, thanks, Anne, for mentioning how hard water might contribute to the time it takes for my soaked beans to cook in the oven & Andie, for seconding the suspicion.

I live in an Art Deco-era building in a city where Britta does brisk business. Using a filter hasn't helped me, but I am not using dried heirloom beans.

Since one other poster singled out black beans as problematic, perhaps I'll try cooking a recent purchase of pinto beans without soaking them and report back.

I still wonder if there's less turn-around in inventories of dried beans nowadays, especially given all the recipes that call for 15-oz. cans of beans and the number of articles tauting the healthfulness of a diet that includes legumes and whole grains.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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It is hard to buy beans for $6/lb (plus shipping, for many of us) when you can get them for 69 cents a pound, BUT Rancho Gordo's are truly different. Some of them are so beautiful that you can think of them as cheap jewels instead of expensive legumes. I've given them as wedding presents (no kidding).

No, I've never even met Steve Sando.

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I was so excited with the results that I called my boyfriend to tell him about it.....

me: guess what I found out with egullet...

him:  oh god what is it now?

:laugh::laugh:

Scenes we don't have to imagine, because we've BEEN there... :laugh:

Thanks FG for reminding folks that beans do not need to be soaked and salt will not cause hard beans.  pH is a factor though.  acid causes beens to stay hard. 

This bears repeating and further exploration. How much acid does it take to interfere with bean cookery? I've read about not adding tomatoes or tomato sauce until the beans are done. My question is whether some folks' drinking water is naturally too acidic to cook beans properly without adding some baking soda. (Our well's pH is way high, so this is strictly an academic question for me.)

boy, chickpeas really do need to be soaked. those are tough little suckers. i'm sure you could do it without, but it would be a matter of days rather than hours. i've done runners without problem, though. haven't done limas, but i have done dried favas (broad) and they were fine, too. i don't think it's the size of the bean but the density of the starch (said blithely, without having looked anything up).

I'm glad for this extra bit of information. Since chickpeas are one of my favorites, I might have tried them first. I'll stick to the anasazis or white beans first. Then I'll go see what I can learn about starch density.

Thanks for bringing this up, FG. I wasn't into beans when you first brought this up, so I missed it too.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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It is hard to buy beans for $6/lb (plus shipping, for many of us) when you can get them for 69  cents a pound, BUT Rancho Gordo's are truly different. Some of them are so beautiful that you can think of them as cheap jewels instead of expensive legumes. I've given them as wedding presents (no kidding).

A quick correction, they're $5 and there's a flat $8 shipping fee for one pound or a thousand.

I compare it to tomatoes. You can get tomatoes for .39 a pound and you can get heirlooms up to $5.

No, I've never even met Steve Sando.

That can always be fixed!!!

I make beans two to three times a week and I know my stock and I still get surprises now and again. I always say there are no absolutes and while there are millions of tricks to make better beans, you really have to work hard to screw up a pot of beans.

Thanks to the Wolfert influence, I've been almost exclusively cooking with clay pots but lately I've had to make pots for work and used the le Cruset and it's a little surprising how much faster it is. But so what? In general, you shouldn't make beans in a hurry.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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Thanks to the Wolfert influence, I've been almost exclusively cooking with clay pots but lately I've had to make pots for work and used the le Cruset and it's a little surprising how much faster it is. But so what? In general, you shouldn't make beans in a hurry.

Can you tell where the time difference comes in? If you're bringing the beans to the boil on the stovetop before putting then in the oven, I'm guessing that at least some of the time difference is due to using more gentle heat with the clay on the stovetop. Am I right? Is the process slower during the oven portion as well?

Finally, I'd still like to know when is the appropriate time to add tomatoes or tomato sauce or paste to the beans. Do I need to wait until they're completely cooked? What about other acids?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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A Britta water filter is not expensive and does an excellent job and for anyone who is having difficult with cooking certain thing, it would not hurt to try it. 

Chemicals in water have an effect on many foods, it just seems to be most evident in these.

Has anyone tried using the Britta water filter with calcium=rich well water? If it works to get heirloom the beans cooked to perfection in 90 minutes, I'll convert .

I haven't tried it, but after doing a bit of reading and thinking about this I'm thinking that it might, under some circumstances, help. (How's that for a definite answer?) Whether it would help or not depends on the pH and alkalinity of your well water.

What's interesting to me about these filters is that they don't exchange calcium and magnesium ions for sodium ions, as my household water softener does. They exchange for hydrogen ions. In plain English, they add a bit of acid to the water instead of adding sodium. My household water is well on the basic side (pH 8.7) so it could stand a slight adjustment downward. If your well water's pH is closer to 7 - that is, more neutral, the Brita system might end up shifting the water down below 7 and into the acid side, and slow down or stop the cooking rate. (See my earlier question about when to add acids.) I suppose you could counteract that by adding baking soda to the cooking water, but then...well, you might as well have used a water softener in the first place.

Sorry if that's too geeky. I'll be happy to explain or elaborate further, if someone else doesn't jump in first. I may just go buy a Brita water filter and try it for myself.

Edited in an attempt at greater clarity.

Edited by Smithy (log)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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$5/lb for heirloom beans doesn't seem outrageous. Then again, i buy Zolfini beans from Tuscany for $14 /lb when i'm home in italy.

And i'll report, the 90 minutes in the oven works very well for Zolfini, i even told my dad about it, who said he'll try it....we'll see if he becomes a convert!

jason

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Can you tell where the time difference comes in?  If you're bringing the beans to the boil on the stovetop before putting then in the oven, I'm guessing that at least some of the time difference is due to using more gentle heat with the clay on the stovetop.  Am I right?  Is the process slower during the oven portion as well?

Once the clay is warm and the water is simmering, I think it's about the same. But the initial bringing the water to a boil on the stofvetop is considerably longer. I can turn the LeCruset up to high but the clay rarely gets to medium. It's interesting, I saute the mirepoix in the bottom of the clay pots and the olive oil (or lard or duck fat) starts right away. It's the heating water part that takes so long.

I have to admit I haven't tried the Parsons Method with clay yet but it makes perfect sense. I was thinking I'd even try it with my clay in the fireplace soon.

Finally, I'd still like to know when is the appropriate time to add tomatoes or tomato sauce or paste to the beans.  Do I need to wait until they're completely cooked?  What about other acids?

I hold off adding anything until about 3/4 of the way through. You are going to think i'm nuts (and I'm ok with that!) but the pot starts smelling like beans and less like the mirepoix. You can sample a bean and tell that it's "given up" and you are now the master. Now salt and season as needed.

This isn't the "no soak" method but I have a short video

, if you want the easy version.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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Excellent video! I can't decide whether I liked the sound track or the video effects better, but the sum is delicious and inspiring, and the music is really making me smile. :cool: (I never thought about adding a squeeze of lime and a scrape of cheese.) Thanks for the fun tutorial!

Is that clay in the video something you'd put in the fireplace?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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