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I'm making something using butter beans (fasiola gigandes) which will be cooked for a long time (12+ hours) in a casserole dish with liquid covering them.

Normally I would soak the beans first for a long time before discarding the water and using them. Can I reduce/skip the soaking stage given that they will be soaking and cooking in the oven for a long time?

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I use a slow cooker almost every time I cook dried beans, and I don't recommend cutting down on soaking. I typically soak overnight (with a little bicarbonate of soda), and start cooking in the morning, so 10-12 hours soaking + 8-12 hours cooking, avoiding adding (much) acid/salt until towards the end.

It's possible your beans soften more easily than mine, but with a much shorter soak (say 4 hours, and 10 hours cooking, because I forgot to soak them overnight) I've found several types to be barely edible - I ended up cooking down my chilli , blending it, and eating it as bean burgers.

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I have gotten away with no soak many times.

I often cook beans overnight. I think if you cook for 6 hours + the beans are so soft that soaking in advance does not make much difference.

Usually for long cooks I use kidney, red, pinto, turtle beans or black eyed peas. Even with those tough beans and no soak about half have become mush by the end. I have this thought that butter beans are a little more delicate. I think 12 hours will make them all mush.

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    (I certainly hope you boil the kidney beans in addition to the soak/slow cook to get rid of the toxins....) – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Feb 10 at 3:57

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