When my grandmother would cook dry beans, she always soaked them overnight, and they came out "perfect" in the sense I liked, which was that the beans were soft, and in particular, the skins were unbroken in the process. The beans remained whole until eaten. I've tried to reproduce this but have not achieved it. Whether soaked overnight or not, the bean skins would always crack open during the cooking.
Researching this, I read a lot of concerns about whether the skins are hard or soft, and solutions to deal with that issue. But none of them ever associated whether hard or soft skins would prevent breaking or cracking. This has also uncovered some suggestions like quick pre-cooking, soaking cold, soaking luke warm, adding salt, etc. Yet nothing has mentioned which of these methods avoids breaking up the bean skins.
Anyone know how I can avoid the skins breaking up? I'm guess I need to make sure they can expand as much as the bulk of the bean does. I'd like to apply this to a wide range of bean types (kidney, pinto, white northern, black beans, and even unsplit lentils). What should I do to get the unbroken bean (without getting an undercooked bean, or sloppy mush)?