I understand the quick-soak process, as per Is quickly soaking beans or dhal etc. equivalent to an overnight soak? but I'm curious how it works.

My guess is that by heating the dried beans up to boiling expands any air trapped in the beans to help it escape, and then letting them cool for an hour shrinks the air spaces and draws the water back into the beans.

How does quick soaking work on the dried beans the as compared to the overnight process?

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    If there is any air actually trapped inside the beans, then helping it to escape would mean rupturing the walls of the chambers containing it to create an open path to the exterior. Heating in water could indeed facilitate that, both by increasing the interior air pressure and by softening the walls, but the effect would likely also alter the texture of the beans. It could be different, though, for air within the beans that is not actually trapped, having some kind of channel through which it can escape. Commented Jan 25 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


Basically water is more active when it’s hot. Simply having the water heated to a boil, then at a boil, then slowly cooling from boiling, speeds up the rate at which it diffuses into the beans relative to room-temperature water.

The idea of the water being sucked under the skins is interesting, and probably does play a small part, but there’s just not a ton of air in there to begin with. As evidence that it’s not the primary mechanism of action, consider the fact that quick soaking also works with split peas, which have no internal cavities to fill with water.

  • Boiling also prevents the beans from sprouting.
    – ulatekh
    Commented Jan 25 at 16:55
  • Figures #4 and #7 in researchgate.net/publication/… has good diagrams showing water absorption versus time and temperature.
    – Dave X
    Commented Jan 29 at 20:21

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