Cooking and Baking

Why won't my dried beans cook evenly?

I always soak them for the required amount of time. I never salt them until the end. I have tried with limas, black beans, kidney beans, cannellinis, black eyed peas and countless others. They always cook unevenly, and the skins are always horribly tough. Even lentils routinely let me down! What am I doing wrong?

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