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If a recipe calls for beans etc. to be soaked overnight, it is seemingly possible to recreate this process quickly. One method advocated would be to rinse the beans, add to copious amounts of water then boil vigorously for 5 minutes, leaving them to soak for 1 hour in the liquid. Another method is to pressure cook for 5 minutes and naturally release the pressure. The beans etc. are then rinsed and used as they would be after a long soak.

Are these methods genuinely equivalent to a proper overnight soak? Is there any downside to this quicker process?

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    The freshness of the dried beans is also a factor. I mail order high quality dried beans that I know have not been sitting around in a storage facility or on a store shelf....never presoak...full boil for 15 min, then gentle simmer until cooked.
    – moscafj
    Sep 27, 2022 at 17:26
  • Interesting. I've seen a very wide range of boil times quoted (5-15 minutes) but I'll happily accept a 15 minute boil time if I've forgotten to presoak.
    – Greybeard
    Sep 27, 2022 at 22:32

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I think the only downside of not soaking is that your beans might split open when you cook them (especially if you boil them hard).

Soaking them overnight will rehydrate them more "naturally".

Soaking them will also let you time the cooking more precisely, if you start from dry, it might take X amount of time, or can take double that time.

From what I can see on the internet, for all purposes and intents, the end results will be nearly identical in most applications.

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This will depend on the type and freshness of the beans.

Garbanzo aka chick peas and kidney beans do better with an overnight soak in my experience. Black beans, pinto and black eyed peas seemed virtually the same although there is a slight reduction in the quality for the quick soak method. This can be felt occasionally in uneven texture. Sometimes beans that are quick soaked can be mushy with tougher skin. Typically this isn’t common or really that noticeable and in a dish isn’t an issue.

You can try both methods and make your own decisions but with either method you should have a better flavored bean than cans that are store bought.

Personally if possible I will do an overnight soak. If I need beans fast I will do the quick method except for garbanzos or kidney beans. Those I will always soak overnight.

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  • Elaborating on how exactly the bigger beans do better with an overnight soak might make this an even better answer. In my experience, in the worst case scenario with large older beans, the unevenness can be so bad with a quick soak that you end up with the outside disintegrating by the time the center is fully cooked.
    – Cascabel
    Oct 11, 2022 at 17:13

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