Start by sorting the beans to make sure there is no debris or small rocks. Place in a colander and rinse under cold water.
To soak or not to soak. If you have the time, put the beans in a bowl and cover with about 4 inches of cold water, let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or overnight. Soaking will help speed up the cooking time.
Put the beans and the soaking liquid if you soaked into a large dutch oven or pot, add onion bay and other aromatics and enough cold water to cover the beans by about 2 inches
Cook over medium high heat till you see it start boiling, let it hard boil for 15 min, then reduce heat to low, you want to maintain a slow and low simmer. You can cover keeping the lid slightly ajar
Check often to make sure you have enough water, beans should always be submerged, add more HOT water as needed.
Beans will take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to cook. Once beans are soft you can add salt, olive oil and pepper. Turn the heat off, remove bay before serving.
Let cool to room temp and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for 3 months.