Learn To Cook: How To Brine Beans


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No one wants starchy, mealy beans in their soup or chili. In this clip from the America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School, Bridget Lancaster explains the science behind brining beans and demonstrates how to brine for tender and creamy results. Learn more in our Boiling and Simmering lesson.

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22 thoughts on “Learn To Cook: How To Brine Beans”

  1. Dude, is it really necessary to use all of that water to soak them? That seems absolutely outrageous.

  2. Where in the video does it say that you personally have to do that? I assume you understand how to use ratios. So adjust to the level of water that causes you to stop whining. And for future reference, when you start out a sentence with the word "dude" you automatically lose a lot of credibility no matter what you have to say.

  3. Don't assume shit. I see that you're also assuming that I give a crap about what you think of my use of 'Dude'. Wrong! ^^ I could not care less what you think. As if a video about beans requires much credibility. What are we talking about here, invisibility cloaks? The possibility of time-travel?

    I am not whining – I care about the environment and prefer to try and save water should that be a possible option, so kindly eff off. Maybe get bent out of shape over something of substance next time.

  4. Only once ever had tough skins on beans, and that is when the dried beans in question were several years old. So, can't say I see how "getting tender skins" is an issue. So, if tender skins in one's mind is not an issue, would there be another reason to brine the soaking water? Bridget Lancaster in the video says the salt does not penetrate into the bean, so I'm going to guess the salt doesn't affect taste in any noticeable way?

  5. One more question please. As of 2011, The British Food Standards Agency recommends an adult maximum of 2.4g of sodium a day; the American Heart Association's daily recommended maximum is 1.5g sodium. The sodium content of canned beans typically works out to be about 400 – 600 mg of sodium per half-cup — a good chunk of your daily sodium allowance, whichever standards you go by.

    My question for Bridget is: were you able to measure the sodium levels of the beans that you brined after cooking?

  6. People, you understand that salt has no negative impacts except for a very few people with hypertension, right? That the food police have sold you a pack of lies?

  7. Hey, why am I not surprised that you're from the States? Lemme just mull that over for a sec…

    I use up to a liter…a liter and a half and do just fine. I don't waste up to 4 fucking liters.

    The majority of Americans are so completely out of touch with the importance of being mindful that nothing fazes you. Thank God I did not turn out like you did. Twat.

  8. Seriously, this "brining" method as stated in video works well on all beans. I have tried and had success on all. The "salt does not permeate the skin of the bean as stated by this chef, so all salt-a phobics for whatever reason should still use this method for tender perfect beans everytime. The salt you add to season causes your problems, not the salt in the brine. Get educated, be smart, but still season. Nobody likes bland beans and salt is only one cause of hypertension!

  9. I have a question. I work in a senior center as a cook, would letting the beans brine at room temp fall into any any codes? I would love to try this with my seniors but am wary about any ramifications by the DAS or state health inspectors.

  10. why would the salt not penetrate to the interior of the beans during the brine? is salting during cooking somehow bad and why? I heard of people doing the over-night soaking experiment with and without salt and report completely opposite results (some say the ones soaked with salt explode, others that the ones soaked without salt explode). Any explanations? I've never had issues with tough skins. My issue is that the skins tend to burst by the time all beans are completely done.

  11. This method is wonderful and correct – the experts know and after years of "not brining" my "Soup Beans" or Pinto Beans – I have started to add salt – Result:  Creamier beans, less time cooking, etc – and you can soak your Pinto Beans up to 24 – Of course – dried beans are best and worth the effort…

  12. The difference this method makes is unbelievable. Thank you so much. I love how you use scientific methods to make food better.

  13. Soaked pinto beans for 12 hrs in your brine method, cooked for 2 hrs. And still had some beans that,were not soft! This may work well for Liam beans but not for pinto.

  14. How much sodium does this add to a serving (? 1/2 cup or what?) We eat way too much sodium and people like my husband with CHF are harmed terribly by this.

  15. These were fantastic! I just tried this technique with 15 bean soup. I was worried the beans would be too salty because Id' be cooking them with a leftover ham bone (with quite a bit of ham leftover on it), but I took a chance. ATK hasn't let me down yet! I'll be using this bean brining technique from now on. I brined them a little over 12 hours. The beans were creamy and no blown out beans either. Thank you! Superb beans!!

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