It strikes me as an unsafe food practice to follow Cook's Illustrated's advice for soaking dried beans for 24 hours unrefrigerated. I've also seen them suggest you soak steel-cut oats unrefrigerated overnight.
Is there some reason why these practices are okay? Would there be any harm in refrigerating them, particularly the beans, while soaking?
From Cook's Illustrated:
Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add [one pound] beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.