One simple way to keep your ground meat-based dishes moist, tender and flavorful is to add a Panade. Learn how to make one here using the following guide.
Have you ever eaten a hamburger or meatball that tasted dry and inedible like hockey pucks? Recipes that use ground meat can be spruced up with just a few ingredient tricks to turn dull dishes into ones people crave!
Whenever you bake, grill or braise meat that needs to be cooked well done, you run the risk of losing juiciness and flavor. One simple way to keep ground meat dishes moist and flavorful is to add a Panade.
What is a Panade?
A panade is a mixture of starch and liquid that is added to ground beef or other types of meat. Any combination of starch (bread, panko, crackers) and liquids (milk, buttermilk, yogurt, stock, water) can be used.
Varying the combination of panade ingredients and incorporating aromatics and spices can add more or less flavor depending on your taste preference.
Basic Panade Guide
The panade mixture consists of 1 cup bread crumbs or cubes plus 1 cup liquid, soaked for 10 minutes and mashed into a paste. I recommend the following based on specific recipes:
- Meatballs and Meatloaf: 1 pound meat + 1 large egg + 1/2 cup panade
- Burgers: 1 pound meat + 1/4 cup panade
Experiment with the panade amount until the desired texture is achieved. You can taste how adding a panade makes a recipe more moist and tender by trying my Italian Meatball Recipe.
Meat cooked without a Panade
When the muscle fibers of meat proteins are cut or ground into smaller pieces, this causes sticky soluble proteins to be released which can then affect the texture of the meat.
After meat is mixed and cooked, the proteins tighten and contract which causes significant amounts of moisture to be squeezed out. If a panade is not added, then ground meat dishes may reduce in size and become dry or tough to eat. Source: The Science of Good Cooking
Recipes that could incorporate a Panade
What is the Function of a Panade?
The starch in the bread absorbs the liquid in the mixture and creates a starch paste. The paste coats the proteins and sets into a gel when cooked, preventing the proteins from linking too tightly together and squeezing out moisture. This keeps the shape of the ground meat while moisture is retained.
How to Make a Panade
- 1 cup bread, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 cup milk, plus more as needed to cover bread
- Place bread into a medium-sized bowl and then pour 1 cup of milk or more as needed to cover the bread.
- Allow bread cubes to soak for at least 10 minutes, until most of the milk has absorbed and bread is mushy in texture.
- Pour off any excess milk and mash the bread mixture with a fork until there are no dry spots. The mixture should look like a starchy paste.
- Buttermilk, non-dairy milk, stock or broth can be used instead of milk.
- Dried breadcrumbs like cubes, panko, and smaller traditional breadcrumbs can be used. It may need more time to soak if cubed or less time if smaller sized. Just make sure the liquid is absorbed and the bread is not dry.
- This recipe is for the panade mixture only. Incorporate into meat recipes such as:
- For Meatballs and Meatloaf: Add 1/2 cup panade to 1 pound ground meat, 1 large egg and seasoning. Mix until combined and cook according to the recipe.
- For Burgers: Add 1/4 cup panade to 1 pound ground meat and seasoning. Mix until combined and cook according to the recipe.