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Pour the beans into a large bowl. Pick out and discard any beans that are shriveled or split as well as any small rocks that may have made their way into the bag.
Fully cover the beans with water (at least 3 inches over the top of the beans) and set on the counter to soak for 8 hours or overnight.
Drain and rinse the beans under cool water. (They will have doubled in size during the soaking process!)
Transfer the beans to a large pot or Dutch oven. Add 10 cups of water (and the optional ingredients if using them).
Bring beans to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (I recommend checking them at the 2 hour mark and giving them a taste. They should be tender and fully cooked through, but still a little firm and not mushy. Cook a little longer if they're not quite done.)
Remove from heat and use them in recipes like refried beans and charro beans, or let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge.