Our quest for the most incredible products in the world continues! Last week we talk about a great alternative to tofu, the Tempeh. Today we bring you an awesome alternative to mozzarella, the Burrata.
Take the most exquisite mozzarella you’ve ever tried and imagine tearing it open with a fork, and the smooth white outer skin revealing an oozing soft and creamy interior. This is what Burrata is! A ball of fresh Italian mozzarella cheese that’s filled with rich, thick cream. It begins as pasteurized milk curds that are then submerged in hot water until they become elastic. Pulled into strips, then kneaded and stretched, until the curds form a smooth ball.
Originally created as a way to salvage mozzarella scraps, the ball of cheese is left hollow and filled with uncooked curds combined with cream. The soft center continues to age and ferment so the flavor is stronger than that of mozzarella alone.
Burrata is typically served at room temperature, and since it’s fresh, it’s best served within 48 hours of purchase. After that, it’s considered past its prime (even though it’s still perfectly edible).
This cheese is often served with a simple sprinkle of salt and drizzle of olive oil. Slices of good bread or crackers can be used to scoop up its soft interior. Burrata is also often served like mozzarella, with fresh tomatoes and basil, and is a decadent and delicious topping for pizza. Its mild and creamy flavor also pairs well with summer fruit like fresh berries, melon, and stone fruits.
There are also several variations of this cheese: the bufala burrata is a pulled-curd cheese in a rounded shape and tied together with vegetal string, where a layer of cow/bufala cheese hides a central filling of butter.
Throughout Southern Italy, it’s traditional to fill Provola cheeses of various sizes with butter. Then there’s also, burrino, which is also in the Slow Food Ark of Taste, and has its origins in Calabria and Puglia and are very high-fat cheeses that were created to conserve butter as long as possible.
Fresh mozzarella cheese is a semi-soft Italian cheese made from cow or water bufala milk. Burrata cheese takes the mozzarella one step further. It starts out much like mozzarella and many other kinds of cheese, with rennet used to curdle the warm milk. But then, unlike other cheeses, the fresh mozzarella curds are plunged into hot whey or lightly salted water, kneaded, pulled, and twisted to develop the familiar stretchy strings of burrata.
This stretched curd is also known as pasta filata, which gives the cheese a soft but slightly elastic texture. The remnants of mozzarella are used in a genius (and delicious) way to fill balls of burrata (along with whole cream).
Both cheeses have a similar flavor, however, the main difference is in texture. Burrata is looser, creamier and richer.
Both fresh burrata or mozzarella cheese are delicious, so does it matter which one you choose? Yes, this is an important thing to know. If you are planning to melt the cheese for a cooked dish like pizza, fresh mozzarella is a better option since it’s cheaper and melts better. Save burrata for eating or serving as is, when you can split it open to enjoy the rich, creamy insides.