Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C before you begin preparing meatballs. Spray two non-stick baking trays well with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small mixing bowl, mix the baking soda into the water, pour onto the breadcrumbs and mix well. Add the milk and stir together while adding more milk 1 tablespoon at a time to moisten the breadcrumbs fully. Let rest while you prep the rest of the ingredients (or at least 5 minutes).
In a large mixing bowl add the beef, breadcrumb mixture, garlic, parsley, and parmesan cheese, and season with about a teaspoon of salt and freshly grated pepper (if using jarred sauce, it may be salty so season to taste). Add the breadcrumb mixture and mix well with your hands, squeezing the mixture through your fingers until combined. Shape mixture with greased hands into even size meatballs, about 1 ½-inches each.
Place formed meatballs on baking sheets (about 20 per pan) spacing evenly apart. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes flipping the meatballs halfway through cooking time. Cook until they are cooked through and a meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 160°F/71°C
Use fresh ingredients. Fresh herbs and aromatics give a much better flavor than dried.
Avoid low-fat ground meat the fat helps to make the meatballs tender and keeps them moist. I recommend at least 80% lean beef.
Be sure to use the eggs. This recipe calls for 2 eggs to bind the meatballs. If you skip the eggs your meatballs could fall apart when cooked in a sauce.
When rolling your meatballs by hand I suggest oiling your hands before so that the mixture doesn’t stick when handling.