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Saw a recipe for dried beans that called for soaking them with baking soda - why?

It also called for adding baking soda to the water when you cook them to soften them. I usually add salt. Baking soda would increase the pH making the water slightly alkaline - what's the benefit?

asked by Burnt Offerings over 7 years ago

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9 answers 17642 views
Panfusine
added over 7 years ago

They cook up easier & faster. I think its because of the Carbon dioxide releasing factor that baking soda brings in.
Adding salt usually increases the cooking time, the opposite effect of adding soda. Not 100% of the science behind it, but beans added to soda also tends to induce bloating, (the urban myth that goes around in India restaurant circles, is that the bloating factor makes you feel fuller on less, hence its a standard restaurant economizing technique,!)

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healthierkitchen
added over 7 years ago

not that I'm likely to do this this week or anything (maybe next?) but it would be interesting to do two pots side by side to test the difference!

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boulangere
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 7 years ago

It's a general practice not to salt (or add anything containing salt) beans until the shell has softened. Otherwise, it can take pretty much forever for them to soften and cook.

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Homemadecornbread
added over 7 years ago

One school of thought is that soda is added to the soaking water and/or cooking water to release carbon dioxide gas so that it's not ingested. I've tried it and found it didn't make much difference. And as boulangere says, it's better not to salt your beans until later in the cooking process after the shell has softened, or they will take a long time to cook. On the other hand, don't wait til they're done, either - the salt needs time to get absorbed throughout the beans and not just flavor the water.

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Burnt Offerings
added over 7 years ago

Thanks for all the tips! Especially Sam1148. I should clarify that I usually add salt to the SOAKING water, not the cooking water, for the exact reason homemadecornbread states - I want the flavor IN the bean.

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Anitalectric
Anitalectric

Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.

added over 7 years ago

Learned this tip from my aunt in New Orleans and swear by it. It is so that the beans don't give you gas.

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boulangere
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 7 years ago

Came across this:

http://nutrition.about.com/od/askyournutritionist/f/bakingsodabvit.htm

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Panfusine
added over 7 years ago

You don't need baking soda if you have a pressure cooker! So completely agree with the link info boulangere!

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