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Apr 21, 2009 02:01 PM

Are Bread Crumb Necessary for Meatballs?

Or it is merely an extender, and thus omittable?

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  1. The moistened bread crumbs, commonly referred to as a panade, are important to the extent that they keep the meatball tender.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Bob Brooks

      Yup. Without the bread crumbs (or oatmeal, which I sometimes use instead) you can end up with hard lumps of overcooked ground meat.

      1. re: Bob Brooks

        And use fresh bread crumbs made from good bread soaked in milk.

        1. re: alwayscooking

          Quality bread crumbs make all the difference.

          1. re: alwayscooking

            That is what I do, always tender and moist and soft, fresh herbs and I love grated onion, a few other things, but the onion and bread crumbs or soaked bread to me make the meatballs

          2. re: Bob Brooks

            Different countries use different starches to extend the meat. Others also put in bits of fruit (South East Asian and Southern African countries in particular) and I am personally fond of using dried apples - which are amazing when reconsituted in milk and meat fat! Dried apricots and/or cherries chopped down into really small pieces can also be yummy.

            I find that too much gluten makes me get UTI's so I like to use potato flakes and eggs as my extenders rather than bread/crackers. I've also used rice flour, sweet potato flakes, and rice bread crumbs which work well with my 'Asian' and 'Hawaiin' inspired meatloafs.

            1. re: Bob Brooks

              I've never understood why the breadcrumbs should be moistened. Logically, dry matter would suck up more meat juice than wet. Maybe it's because wet crumbs make a better glue or perhaps they provide for loss by evaporation.

              What's your take?

              1. re: Paulustrious

                I don't want them soaking up the meat juice. They are there to add moisture and for texture.

            2. Agree with BB about panade. Soak a slice or two of plain sandwich bread (or and old hotdog or burger bun....) in alittle milk or buttermilk. Mush it into a paste and add it to your meat/ eggs/ onions. Works great for turkey or leaner cuts of beef because it adds proteins from the dairy. adam

              1. Also, the filler holds onto the fat, and the fat has the flavour.

                Bit of a bummer really.

                1. The "filler" does indeed help with the texture. If you're GF, you can use substitute rolled oats, which by definition contain no gluten.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: KiltedCook

                    Or pork rinds, crushed in a food processor. (Yes, really.)

                  2. When I'm making korean meatballs, I add drained firm tofu. Same for mandu filling.