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Faster Brown Rice

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2012

If you have time to soak your rice before cooking it, you can drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to cook.

Since brown rice can take 45 minutes to an hour to cook, we wondered if soaking it ahead of time could speed up the cooking (just as it does with dried beans). We’re pleased to report success: After soaking in water for at least six hours in the refrigerator, brown rice cooked in only 30 minutes. The simplest approach is to place the rice and premeasured cooking water (use 1 1/2 cups of water per cup of rice) directly into a pot or rice cooker (before leaving for work, for example) and let it soak in the refrigerator. Then it’s merely a question of adding salt and turning on the heat when you’re ready to cook. Besides the abbreviated cooking time, there’s an added benefit: The long soak softens the hard outer bran layer much better than simmering alone does, resulting in rice that’s far more tender and fluffy. (Just don’t soak rice for longer than 24 hours: It can start to sprout or ferment.)

SOAKED FOR SPEED

Soaking brown rice speeds up cooking.