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Aug 2, 2009 12:15 AM

Freezing bread for meatballs

I had a massive day old baguette that went mostlly untouched. I took the crusts off and cut it into bigish chunks in a big ziplock in the freezer. Any drawback to using this stuff for making meatballs? is regular unfrozen day old bread better? thanks!

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  1. There should be no difference between frozen or unfrozen bread.

    1. You put bread in your meatballs?

      Do you see any benefit - other than making the meat go further, of course?

      5 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        Unlike burgers, meatballs need something to give the soft texture one expects from meatballs. I have yet to see a recipe that didn't call for bread crumbs dried or fresh. This is not to stretch the meat but to improve texture. Meatballs without bread are quite dense. How do you make yours?

        1. re: scubadoo97

          "How do you make yours?"

          Without bread.

          As you say, the meatballs are quite dense (well, they would be - they're just meat and seasoning). I've added bread in the past when I needed to make the meat go further, but it's not a texture I like. I've never made burgers so can't comment on that.

          1. re: Harters

            meatballs typically are cooked through -- to well done. the breadcrumbs help hold the fat in and keep the meatballs moist. burgers are not cooked quite as much, so don't need the boost.

            1. re: Harters

              <I've never made burgers so can't comment on that.>
              Yes you have - a flattened ball of "just meat and seasoning" IS a burger! A meatball has bread or another starch to bind and tenderize, plus seasonings and usually egg (without egg they are dense and tougher).

              Freezing leftover/stale bread for later use in meatballs, meatloaf, and stuffing is common and wise.

              1. re: greygarious

                I might be British but I do recognise a burger when I see one and I think I'd know if I'd made them. It is a flat thing usually grilled. As opposed to a meatball which is, erm, ball shaped and not usually grilled.

                But thank you for your advice about how to prepare meatballs. It's actually something I've done for many years, using mince from a variety of meats. As earlier, I've rarely used breadcrumbs as I don't like that texture and prefer them just as meat and seasonings. I also rarely find the need for egg.

                Just by the by, most of my meatball dishes are based on recipes from a book published in 1982 by my usual supermarket, called "Marvellous meals with mince". It has half a dozen meatball or rissole recipes - only one of which mentions any binding (in that case it's semolina)

        2. I make mine with milk-soaked breadcrumbs and always add some ricotta. Plus all the usual stuff (lots of garlic). They're always soft and tender.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bayoucook

            I soak my bread in warm milk, as in Marcella Hazan's recipe. But I like the idea of adding ricotta. How much do you add to a pound of ground meat?

            1. re: knitterbetty

              for a pound, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup - I'll try the warm milk next time. I just bought her "Essentials of Italian Cooking" and haven't read it yet. I don't know where I read about adding the ricotta, but we really love it in there. I make 3-4 dozen at a time and vacuum freeze them in batches.

          2. i keep a bag of "old" bread in the freezer -- for meatballs, breadcrumbs, soup, gazpacho, etc.

            1. I keep day old bread, minus the crust, in the freezer for meatballs and meatloaf (along with other "trash" like day old bananas, chicken carcasses, meat bones, day old veggies, cheese rinds). No drawbacks and I have the bread ready when I need.