For a family get together this weekend, for about 20 people, we included Boston baked beans on the menu. Most of the cooking was being done outside, and given that it was going to be 90+ degrees on Saturday, I suggested we do the beans in the crock pot rather than heat the oven for a few hours. I used a recipe from a slow-cooker cookbook, and tripled the recipe from using 2 cups of dried Great Northern (also suggested was Navy, but I went with Northerns) beans to 6 cups.
The recipe suggested putting the beans in the crock, adding water until just covered, and cooking on high until "pre cooked" (for about two hours), and then adding the rest of the ingredients (including 6 cups of stock, so tripled would be 18 cups!!!!) and cooking on low for about 6 hours.
I "precooked" the beans the night before, but an hour into the process, most of the water was gone and the top beans looked dried and crunchy, the bottom ones looked like they were getting almost cooked. I added a bunch more water, and figured residual heat would get the job done.
Next day, I added the molasses, maple syrup, bacon, and dried mustard, put on low, and start. Could only add 8 cups of stock, put figured I could add more as needed. 2 hours in, and looked like nothing happened, so I put it on high. 4 hours later, beans not done. I pull out another crock, split the batch, and pray. 6 hours, not done. 8 hours in, the party starts, beans not close to getting done, I pull the plug on the beans.
Next day, not willing to concede defeat, I recombine the batches, add more stock, and hit high again. 4 hours later, they're finally done. Kinda. Still kinda crunchy, but also kinda falling apart. Sauce isn't thick. Overall, not a good result.
Is it in part because I tripled the batch and it was too much for the crock to handle? I consider myself very competent in the kitchen, able to tackle liver pates, sausages, and risottos with relative ease, but for some reason, cooking beans so they're as creamy as canned eludes me. Any help?