Cook beans according to basic directions using 4 cups water, until very soft. (Basic Directions - Rinse and drain beans; add triple their volume of cold water; bring to full boil, cover, and cook for one minute. Skim foam while boiling. Remove from heat and let stand for two hours or longer. After soaking period, drain and add fresh water; bring to slow boil and cook slowly to desired softness. Approximate cooking time after soaking - Lentils about ten minutes; split peas about thirty minutes; beans about one hour; chick-peas about three hours.
Melt butter over medium heat in a soup kettle. Saute onion and garlic until onion is transparent.
Add the carrots, celery, tomato puree, broth, bay leaf, and thyme. Cook mixture until vegetables are very tender.
Shortly before serving, add beans with bean broth, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Bring soup to a boil. Add cream and milk and heat to boiling point, but do not boil. Serve immediately with whole grain bread. Serves 3 or 4.