So I realize there are several methods for cooking dried beans - and my question isn't strictly about cooking. I'm uncertain if I'm doing anything wrong in my bean-cooking attempts. I'd like to go over what I've done, and maybe someone can tell me if I'm doing anything wrong.
1) Buying beans - previously, I had bought packaged dried beans from the supermarket, and they yielded not-so-great results. So next I've tried bulk beans from a reliable bulk place at my local market, with reasonably high turnaround.
2) I pick them over.... (small ones, cracked, etc)
3) Soaking: I've now tried Bittman's quick-soak method, and Harold McGee's salt-soak method, with minimal cooking water. When I soak beans - no matter what - they crack quite a bit and start to fall apart. Is this normal? Is this the quality of the beans? Black beans, chick peas, kidney beans have all done this.
4) Rinsing etc
5) Cooking: My beans fall apart. Chick peas just split apart. Black beans crack and fall apart.
Help! Should I try a different source for my dried beans? A different soak/cook method? (I don't have access to a pressure cooker...)