ATK Discovery: Don't Mix in Panade by Hand; Process It! To ensure that meatballs hold their shape, retain moisture and stay tender during cooking, they typically combine the ground meat with a panade, a paste made of milk and bread. The starches and liquid form a gel that coats and lubricates the meat proteins, preventing them from linking together into a tough matrix. What else? ATK advises to use a light touch when rolling the meatballs to prevent them from being dense. To portion the meatballs, use 2 tablespoons or a #30 scoop, loosely filled, of the pork mixture.