This recipe is considered to be the basic one for beans that will be added to chili when it's served--assuming, of course, that you are a "with beans" aficionado. There is a great debate about whether or not to soak the beans overnight. The only simple answer is that if the beans are soaked overnight, they will take about half as long to cook the next day.
Remove any beans that float, then drain the beans and replace the water with 3 quarts of fresh cold water.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 2 to 3 hours or until the beans are tender and are easily pierced with a fork. If additional water must be added, use only hot water.
Drain the beans and add salt to taste.