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The Soaking Question, Again


In the kitchen

I recently received this email:

I made a pot of the Good Mother Stallard beans over the weekend. Did a 2 day soak and they still took (what I consider) a long time to reach tenderness - more than 2 hours. I used the cassoulet beans and other such that I bought without incident. What should I do next time?

The breakdown

Cover in cold water for 24 hrs, added water and let sit another 24 hours.
Drained and added to pot of half water/half chicken stock. Boiled for about 10 mins then sent on med-low to cook in cover pot. After 90 mins, still slightly hard. Kicked it up to med heat for another 45 and achieved the desired tenderness. Is it just the bean or did I do something incorrect.


I've said it before, but beans harvested within two years and stored properly don't need much soaking. Harold McGee in his classic On Food and Cooking says the bulk of the rehydration occurs within the first two hours. My very unscientific theory is that the fresh beans start to ferment or start the first stages of sprouting when you soak them so long. For what it's worth, I soak 2-4 hours and Joan, who runs our Operations, never soaks at all.

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