Put the chickpeas in a large bowl, cover with cold water by a couple of inches, and refrigerate for at least 6 and up to 24 hours.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Transfer to a 6-quart pot. Tie the onion, herb sprigs, and bay leaves in a piece of cheesecloth and add the bundle to the pot. Add 10 cups cold water and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam. Turn the heat down to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until just tender, about 1 hour.
Add 2 tsp. salt and continue cooking until the chickpeas are fully tender and creamy on the inside but retain their shape, 15 to 30 minutes more.
Drain the chickpeas, reserving the cooking liquid; discard the herb bundle. Let the chickpeas and the reserved liquid cool to room temperature. Refrigerate in separate airtight containers for up to 5 days.
Photo: Scott Phillips