Rinse beans under cold water. Drain and place in a large Dutch oven, cover with 2 inches of water and soak for eight hours. Drain, place back in the pot and add in 6 cups of water. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and adjust seasonings to taste. Store the beans in their liquid. Use a slotted spoon to serve.