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Making Panade with Dry Panko Bread Crumbs

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2012

Can dry panko bread crumbs be substituted for fresh when making a panade?

A panade is a milk-and-bread paste that’s folded into ground meat before shaping it into meatloaf and meatballs or even burgers; the bread starches absorb milk to form a gel that coats and lubricates the meat, keeping it moist and tender.

We found that when we kept the milk at 2 tablespoons and did a straight swap of 1/2 cup of panko for 1/2 cup of fresh bread crumbs in a panade that we mixed into burgers, the panko crumbs swelled to twice their volume and resembled fresh crumbs. They didn’t form a paste, though, so we increased the amount of milk to help the panko break down and disperse evenly in our patties. Bottom line? Panko can be thought of as a sort of fresh bread-crumb concentrate. Here’s the substitution formula: For every slice of bread (or 1/2 cup of fresh crumbs) and 2 tablespoons of milk called for, use 1⁄4 cup of panko and 3 tablespoons of milk.