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What is burrata and why it tastes so good

If you’re one of those people who are still in the dark about burrata, you’re in for a treat! 

We all know Italian cooking is incomplete without cheese, but not many of us know about this lesser-known delicacy spun by talented cheesemakers in the South of Italy. 

You think you got your burrata game on? This guide should tell you more about it and how it came into existence about a hundred years ago.

What is burrata?

Contents

Burrata is a type of Italian cow or buffalo milk cheese. It is native to Altopiano delle Murge, a plateau in the South of Italy that lies in the region of Apulia. 

Burrata is locally manufactured using fresh milk from buffaloes and cows that graze on the grasslands of Apulia that supply rich fodder for grazing cattle.

The Bianchini brothers were the first ones to invent burrata in 1956 on their farm in the agricultural city of Andria. Soon cheese factories started producing it, and it became more widely available all across Italy. 

Declared an artisanal cheese, premium burrata cheese is also manufactured in the United States on the East Coast that has a large population of Italian Americans.

What does burrata taste like?

In descriptive words, burrata tastes like an explosion of milk combined with sweet cream and mozzarella. 

Burrata’s center then boasts a very creamy flavor that’s also somewhat sweet. Imagine eating mozzarella with ricotta cheese or heavy cream, or simply having mozzarella shreds with sweet cream. The final taste ideally depends on how the burrata is made. 

The burrata shell is relatively thin and usually has a knot on one end where it’s tied off after it’s filled. The shell and the knot both taste like mozzarella cheese and are made of freshly-spun mozzarella cheese.
 
However, the creamy and buttery interior is what makes the burrata tasting so distinctive.

How to eat burrata

Burrata cheese is usually served with fresh tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, and a dash of salt. 

You can enjoy burrata with salads, soft pieces of bread, and crackers. Because of its mildly sweet taste, it can also be eaten with fresh summer fruit such as grilled peaches, melons, and fresh berries.
 
Burrata must be eaten fresh, or it will go sour. It would be best if you eat it within 24 hours since it’s considered past its prime after 48 hours of production. 

Burrata cheese must always be eaten when it’s at room temperature, so remove it from your refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.

Burrata vs. mozzarella

Burrata and mozzarella differ from one another because of how they are created.
 
Cheesemakers create mozzarella by adding rennet and lactic ferments to pasteurized cow milk to produce curd. Next, whey is extracted, and the curd is cut into strips and kneaded in boiling water so that it stretches and spins. This forms pieces of mozzarella that are then cooled in water.

Cheesemakers also create burrata from stretched curd, but the difference is that the curd only constitutes the burrata’s outer casing. It’s not the primary substance of the artisanal cheese like it’s in mozzarella. Inside the shell casing, there’s a soft and creamy filling.

Mozzarella has more elasticity than burrata but a much more delicate taste. Because of the cream filling, burrata is softer, full of flavor, and also higher in calories than mozzarella cheese.

How is burrata made?

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made by heating pasteurized or raw milk. Rennet is added to the milk for lacto-fermentation, so it slowly curdles. When formed, the curds are dropped in hot whey, so they blend into a stretchy paste. 

Cheesemakers then carefully weave and pull the curd, fashioning a spun consistency. When the desired texture is obtained, the hot curd is molded into a delicate pouch and stuffed with cream and little shreds of mozzarella (called “stracciatella”) before being sealed at the top by a mozzarella knot.

The bottom line

With a balanced taste, burrata is like the decadent cousin in the family of artisanal cheeses that overshadows all the other types. A soothing delight, it’s bound to seduce your delicate palate and keep you longing for more.