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Thread: meatloaf without the egg?

  1. #1

    meatloaf without the egg?

    I just watched Rachel Ray make some mini meatloafs and thought they sounded good and I haven't had meatloaf since being a kid, but I was wondering if meatloaf could be made without the egg...? I know that the egg acts as a binder and holds it together, but what would happen if it wasn't in there? And what purpose other than flavor do breadcrumbs in meatloaf serve?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Lex, you could certainly substitute an egg substitute for the regular egg without a problem. I think you would come out with a dry and crumbly meatloaf without one or the other. As for breadcrumbs, I never use them in my meatloaf. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    I would say that without egg and breadcrumbs you have hamburgers in a loaf form. If this works for you, go for it. (I'm not a hamburger fan, so I need a little something more. )
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  4. #4
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    I'm afraid I don't remember for sure whether or not I included an egg when I used to make meatloaf (it's been a long time!) but I do recall splashing in some tomato sauce - I don't suppose that "binds" though.

    Anyhow, when I saw Mario Batali speak last week he said meatballs should always include copious breadcrumbs to keep them soft and tender; he said that when you cook that much protein it constricts and becomes tough. I would think the same principle would apply to meatloaf. (I know some folks consider breadcrumbs an "extender" but maybe that's not the correct interpretation of why they're used.)

  5. #5
    I always use little cubes of bread in my meatloaf, and love it. The bread absorbs liquid from anything else you have in the loaf; I know that would include any fat from the meat, so I use lean meat, but I really like the way it has the effect of making the loaf moister and less dense.
    I also do use an egg as a binder; I'd think egg substitute would work fine.
    Hope you enjoy making your meat loaf!

  6. #6
    I don't use breadcrumbs in my meatloaf, but I do use oatmeal. Same principle - absorbs some of the grease and acts as a filler. If you don't want to use eggs or eggbeaters, I'm wondering if applesauce might work as a binder.

  7. #7

    Re: meatloaf without the egg?

    Originally posted by lex
    I just watched Rachel Ray make some mini meatloafs and thought they sounded good and I haven't had meatloaf since being a kid, but I was wondering if meatloaf could be made without the egg...? I know that the egg acts as a binder and holds it together, but what would happen if it wasn't in there? And what purpose other than flavor do breadcrumbs in meatloaf serve?
    Thanks.
    Egg answer first. You don't have to use egg. The loaves will stay together but could get a bit crumbly as you try to take them from the pan. Just make the loaf mixture a bit moister than you might with an egg and that can help with the crumblies. I make minis all the time and I enjoy that method as they are quick to cook. Why don't you want to use egg? Only one egg in a couple pounds of ground beef is not much.

    The bread crumbs or oatmeal are to stretch the loaf. Ground beef used to be extremely expensive and so bread or other "filler" was added to make the meat go farther and serve more with less meat.

    Hope this helps.

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