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meatballs with breadcrumbs ?

Rainy day in Fl. with a 9 yr. old after school who wants meatballs. I've always used breadcrumbs but Ina Garten says soaked white bread is the key to moistness. Which way to go ?

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  1. People do seem to like meatball made with soaked bread, but I have always used breadcrumbs and I've yet to hear any complaints!

    2 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      I soak breadcrumbs in milk, to create a thick paste or panada, similar to what you would do when using bread and what monavano does, downthead; I rarely have white bread around.

      1. re: roxlet

        You might not hear any complaints, but give the shredded bread a shot, and you might hear a lot more ooohs and ahhhs.

      2. I've done both. A piece of bread soaked in milk vastly improves the moistness, if moist is what you're going for. I don't always do that, though. I used the soaked bread for swedish meatballs; if i'm doing something that requires a firmer meatball, I don't.

        2 Replies
        1. re: overthinkit

          After browning these are going back in the tomato sauce for a while. Will that affect the texture ?

          1. re: brevardbelly

            It shouldn't. If I remember correctly, CI's basic meatball recipe (for, say, spaghetti and meatballs) calls for using milk soaked bread. So I wouldn't think there'd be a problem. Are you worried about the acid in the tomato? Because I don't notice texture problems in Swedish meatballs. No tomatoes in the gravy for those, though.
            I really think it's just a moistness thing. So they might break apart more easily, and you might have to brown them more gently. But once browned, they should be fine.

        2. While we're asking breadcrumb questions. Does anybody have any advise/experience doing meatballs with gluten-free bread crumbs? We are still learning GF cooking due to my sister's celiac diagnosis.

          6 Replies
          1. re: arashall

            I prefer making meatballs with crustless GF bread soaked in milk or water. GF breadcrumbs become unpleasantly mushy when moist (imho).

            1. re: arashall

              i use gf oatmeal for my gf meatballs

              1. re: arashall

                I use a recipe that uses ground almond flour almost every time. I have not compared this very same receipe using homemade breadcrumbs in place of almond flour. I believe there are many recipes online for meatballs using the almond flour.

                However, for meatballs made with breadcrumbs, I make my own breadcrumbs. Which are quite different in consistency, volume and weight than what one would buy at the supermarket.

                I think breadcrumbs are better than torn pieces of bread. A piece of bread, no matter how it is soaked and torn apart, never seems to integrate itself well in a meat ball, IMO.

                1. re: arashall

                  Thanks, everyone for the GF advice! I was wondering what the GF would do, texture-wise.

                  1. re: arashall

                    gf breadcrumbs don't seem to have enough integrity and are a bit dense and if cooked in sauce the bread crumb kind of leaches out. It can be done - I make my own gf crumb with a better result -

                2. I use a panade of homemade bread crumbs (or panko if I'm out) and at least milk, if not half and half or cream.
                  I allow the bread to soak in the dairy until the bread is saturated and then put the panade in the meat mixture. I do not wring out the bread and leave the milk behind.

                  1. Panko soaked in milk, that's the best IMHO :) Now I'm hungry....