Welcome to Cooking 101, a fun, weekly series of cooking lessons and hands-on learning from America's Test Kitchen Cooking School. Who are we? Our knowledge and techniques are based on 20 years of test kitchen work creating foolproof recipes for Cook's Illustrated magazine and for our television shows. We believe that everybody, whether novice or advanced, can gain the skills and confidence to become a better cook.
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How to cook humble dried beans is the source of much argument among cooks. Whether beans must be soaked, quick-soaked, or left unsoaked before simmering and the effects of salt on the beans' tenderness, are topics that have been debated. After cooking batch after batch in the test kitchen, we now know what works and what doesn't.
Brine Your Beans, Not Just Simply Soak, for Tender Skins
Recipes often recommend soaking beans in water overnight before cooking. A quick-soak alternative is to