Breadcrumbs are made from crumbled dried bread that sometimes accompanies some seasonings. And they’re used for breeding and crumbling foods, topping casseroles, and stuffing poultry. You can also employ them for thickening stews, to add an economical bulk to meatloaves and soups, and to make a crisp and crunchy covering for fried foods. Breadcrumbs are of different types, made with different procedures, and have different purposes in recipes.
which are made from dry bread. The bread is either baked or toasted to remove any existing moisture, leading to a sandy or powdery texture. They’re made mainly by pulverizing slices of bread in a food processor, making gritty crumbs with a steel blade, or using a grater or a grating blade to make fine crumbs.
which are made from bread that isn’t quite as dry. This makes the crumbs more significant and produces a softer coating, crust, or stuffing
which is a Japanese breadcrumb, gotten from bread baked with electrical current. The baking technique deprives the bread of any crust, and the bread is ground to create fine silvers of crumbs. This breadcrumb variant is crisper with an almost natural texture than most breadcrumbs found in Western cooking.
Apart from meatballs, breadcrumbs can be found in so many recipes, some of which are ;
- Cod with chorizo
- Parmesan chicken cutlet
- Crab cakes
- Macaroni and cheese
- Fennel gratin
- Butternut squash
- Roast chicken
- Apple strudel turnovers
Breadcrumbs in Meatballs
Meatballs are made mainly by using up excess meat. Scrap meats are grind into small bits and adding some fillers to hold the mixture together. One of those fillers used to hold the mixture together is breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs help with the texture of meatballs, and ground beef will fall apart if you press it together as a ball and try to cook it on its own. Adding breadcrumbs to ground meat is essential even with other ingredients like onion, garlic, vegetables, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, or beaten egg. Without it, the meatball mixture may fall apart or come out rubbery.
The starches in the breadcrumbs swell and absorb the cooking juices from the meat and vegetables and help the egg proteins bind the meatballs together for a fine texture. Another way to use breadcrumbs in meatballs is to make a parade. You soak a few slices of crustless white bread in milk for around 10 minutes, squeeze out the excess liquid, and put this in your meatball mix. This panade gives the meatballs a tender and perfect texture that isn’t rubbery.
Breadcrumbs are also used to correct meatball mixtures if they’re too wet. They’re also used to enhance the flavor of meatballs as their juices hold flavor. You can also add them to make meatballs less sloppy and less sticky. Plus, breadcrumbs are economical for whoever can’t afford much meat or wants to reduce meat consumption. When added with water to the recipe, it gives weight to the balls, and you won’t notice there isn’t much meat in the mixture. They also help provide moisture for the cooking process in panade, as it prevents the meat from drying out and helps it cook thoroughly.
Breadcrumbs Nutrition Facts
Breadcrumbs crumbs perform immense duties in meatballs and are very important when making them. But you don’t have to break your neck to find breadcrumbs when they’re not available to you or if you want to try something else. Instead, try picking some other alternatives to breadcrumbs in meatballs, like these below;
Oats are great substitutes for breadcrumbs in meatballs, as they’re rich in fiber and don’t contain sodium. They’re also low in carbs and calories, making them perfect for low-carb diets. Oats can be used as a binding agent in meatballs, and they also add bulk and impart a different flavor and texture to meatballs. Plus, mixing ground flaxseed, garlic powder, thyme, and black pepper with oats increases the recipe’s nutritional value.
But oats are less dense than breadcrumbs, so you’ll need more of it as a substitute. So, consider using 1¼ cups of oats to replace every cup of breadcrumbs in your meatball mixture.
This snack is an excellent substitute for breadcrumbs, especially when choosing saltine crackers. And when crushed up, they have a mild flavor and can turn into pretty fine crumbs. Crackers work perfectly as a binding agent in meatballs and will work in lots of recipes, including low-carb types.
But be aware that crackers will bring a bit more sweetness to your meatball recipe. Plus, be mindful of the brand you’re using, as the crackers can influence the flavor. For instance, Ritz crackers add more sweetness, while other brands may be saltier. So, try comparing the taste of the crackers before swapping them with the breadcrumbs. If it’s sweeter, try upping the savory ingredients accordingly, and if it’s saltier, reduce the salty items in the meatball recipe.
Pretzels have an impressive crunch and salty flavor, making them a perfect substitute for breadcrumbs in meatballs. And once you process them into coarse crumbs, they’ll work perfectly in any recipe that initially calls for breadcrumbs. Plus, pretzels are easy to find and very cheap, which is why they’re a typical snack. And you can use crushed pretzels in the same as you’d use breadcrumbs in your meatball mixture.
If there’s one thing that makes chips perfect breadcrumb replacements, it’s their convenience. They come in tons of varieties and can be easily gotten- you may already have a bag of them in your fridge! Plus, any type will work, whether tortilla or classic potato fries. And with them, you have an easy gluten-free substitute in hand.
You can use equal proportions of crushed chips in your meatball mixture in place of breadcrumbs. However, note that they’ll boost the salt in your dish. Of course, one way to prevent such is to choose a no-salt-added chips brand. And some may have added flavors that influence the final taste of your recipe, so note this factor before choosing.
Crushed cereals are another great substitute for breadcrumbs in meatballs. But when choosing, use unsweetened, mildly flavored cereals like cornflakes, corn-based cereal, or bran. You can pulverize them in a blender, then use them in place of breadcrumbs in your meatball mixture and the exact measurements. Plus, with them, you’ll get a good dose of fiber in your meatball mix.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use almond flour in the place of breadcrumbs in meatballs?
Yes, you can. Almond flour is a fantastic gluten-free substitute for breadcrumbs in meatballs. And it has a nutty flavor, coarse texture and makes a great low-carb option.
What are healthy substitutes for breadcrumbs in meatballs?
Walnuts, hazelnuts, chia, and flax seeds are examples of healthier, low-carb alternatives to breadcrumbs in meatballs. And using these ingredients alongside garlic, onions, and some other herbs will further increase their nutrient content.
Can I use rice flour instead of breadcrumbs?
Yes, you can. Rice flour works as an excellent replacement in most breading recipes, including meatballs. Its fine texture easily sticks with the meat, allowing the juices to be absorbed more tastiness. And it helps give a considerable amount of binding to the ingredients.
Breadcrumbs are a beneficial ingredient in meatballs, as they bring a finishing touch of tenderness to the end product. But they aren’t the only ingredients that can give such qualities to your recipe. So, whichever you pick from these options, you’ll get a fun twist to your meatballs. And they’re so convenient; you may forget you didn’t use breadcrumbs at all.