what can i use instead of milk for meatloaf to soften the breadcrumbs

  • Posted by: whyo4
  • July 10, 2012


bigpan January 13, 2014
Ono is right. After making meatloaf with "filler" bread crumbs for about 30 years, a nice old Italian gentleman told me to soften the bread crumbs before adding into meatballs. They came out soft like cotton. Ever since then I have softened the bread crumbs before making meatloaf or meatballs. I use either skim milk or chicken stock.
Patti I. January 13, 2014
My mom's meat loaf used oatmeal. This recipe uses eggs and tomato juice. I still make it this way but tend to add garlic and basalmic vinegar to it too.
kbckitchen July 10, 2012
I always love chef Ono's responses. I have learned so much from him/her
SeaJambon July 10, 2012
This is what I love about this site -- I had NO IDEA! I make meatloaf "the way my mother always did", and she never (therefore, I never) softened breadcrumbs. As mentioned, I usually use oatmeal, not breadcrumbs, but always understood either was added to absorb moisture. Can't say I've ever noticed "tough" meat (to the contrary) but now that I've learned and absorbed (ahem, small pun intended!), I'll have to try it with a "panade". Interesting. The family recipe does call for both eggs and ketchup, FWIW.

Voted the Best Reply!

ChefOno July 10, 2012

Combining white bread (or, to lesser effect, bread crumbs) and milk to form a thick paste ("panade") is classic meatloaf, used as a binder, to retain moisture, and to keep the proteins in the meat from toughening as they cook.

Cream, canned milk, egg yolks should also work. Stock or water only in a pinch because fat is part of the equation.

Bread crumbs, without first forming a panade, become filler. The technique calls for forming a paste which activates the starches in the bread and then working that into the meat.

Vanessa January 12, 2014
If my recipe calls for 2/3 cups whole milk, how many egg yolks you should I substitute? I have a dairy allergy so need to omit the milk. I'm making Ina Garten's 1770 House Meatloaf. Thanks!!
bigpan July 10, 2012
Along with the above mentioned stock , I would also suggest tomato juice.
mrslarkin July 10, 2012
Wet breadcrumbs help keep some moistness in meatloaf (or meatballs.) If I'm not using milk, I use broth. I agree with HLA - water would do, too.

I've used ground oatmeal in some recipes not calling for liquid. Came out tasty!
SeaJambon July 10, 2012
The good news is that I've never heard of needing to soften breadcrumbs -- rather, the breadcrumbs are usually added to absorb excess moisture. What is your recipe? Personally, I use dry oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs (with great results!). So, go ahead -- add the breadcrumbs and don't moisten ahead of time. :)
hardlikearmour July 10, 2012
Stock or broth. Water if you don't have either.
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