Rinse beans. In a 4-quart Dutch oven combine beans and 8 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, place beans in water in Dutch oven. Cover and let soak in a cool place for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.) Drain and rinse beans; set aside.
In the same Dutch oven cook the celery, onion, and carrot in hot oil over medium heat about 5 minutes or just until vegetables are tender. Add the drained beans, vegetable broth, the 1/4 cup water, and dried mushrooms. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
Stir in the roasted red peppers, dried tomatoes, garlic puree, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and black pepper. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 30 minutes more or until beans are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Discard bay leaf.
Transfer the bean mixture to a 2-quart casserole. In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, melted butter, and garlic. Sprinkle over bean mixture. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degrees oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until bread crumbs are lightly toasted.