Medium-sized beans absorb more than half of their total water capacity in the first two hours of soaking, and plateau at about double their original weight after 10–12 hours. As the soaking temperature goes up, absorption accelerates; and if the beans are first blanched for 1.5 minutes in boiling water, the subsequent water absorption takes only two to three hours in cool water, because the blanching rapidly hydrates the seed coat that controls water movement.
From the book On Food and Cooking (2nd edition) by Harold McGee. © 2004 Harold McGee.
By permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.