Contrary to conventional wisdom, adding salt to dried beans before cooking does not make them tough. But adamshoe reports that America’s Test Kitchen recently advocated soaking beans in salt water (three tablespoons table salt and one gallon water) for 8 to 24 hours before cooking. Drain and rinse to remove remaining salt, then cook as usual in unsalted water until tender.
adamshoe tried this method for baked beans, and says they were “very tender and creamy,” with “few ‘exploded’ beans.” alwayscooking concurs, saying her beans cooked in just 40 minutes and were “absolutely creamy and remained whole.” She notes that they had a slightly salty flavor, so she simply reduced the amount of salt in the dish she made with them.
Board Link: Brining beans? Yes!