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Burrata Cheese

Burrata Cheese

Burrata is an Italian cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The cheese is spherically-shaped, with an outer casing of mozzarella and an unusually soft interior of cream and curd. It tastes similar to mozzarella, however, it is creamier and richer. It has a similar creamy taste to full-fat ricotta cheese.

The origin of burrata dates back to the early 1900s. Even though both are very similar, at least four centuries separate the development of mozzarella and burrata. Lorenzo and Vincenzo Bianchini first produced the cheese on their farm using fresh milk from the buffalos that graze on the plateaus of Murgia, Apulia, southern Italy. They then combined the milk with rennet and cream to give the cheese its unique texture.

The process can be started with either pasteurised or raw milk. Large vats are then filled and heated, with rennet added, to slowly curdle the milk. Once curdled, the curds are dropped in hot whey and blended into a paste. The curd is then expertly weaved, which helps it to develop its consistency. Once the texture has been perfected, the stretched curd is formed into a soft pouch, creating its signature dumpling shape. Mozzarella is made by pouring boiling water over the curds, which are then stretched. The pouch is filled with these strands of mozzarella and cream before being closed.

Traditionally, finished burrata is wrapped in the leaves of an asphodel plant and moistened with whey, although nowadays it will generally be sold in a plastic bag full of water.

It sounds like a simple process, but burrata is very difficult to make at home. It's a meticulous procedure perfected by Italian artisans over the years.

Burrata is best enjoyed straight from production. It is always at its best within a day of being made and waiting longer than this can severely alter the freshness and taste. The cheese does not require any ageing or maturing. Also, no additives or preservatives go into making the cheese. Nowadays, most burrata is produced using vegetable rennet, a plant-based product, which makes it vegetarian-friendly. It is also gluten-free.

To ensure the best tasting experience, burrata is best enjoyed at an ambient temperature. About 30 minutes before serving, take the cheese out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. For leftovers, it is recommended you cover it with water in an airtight container.

Burrata is generally used in a traditional Caprese salad and is excellent on a pizza (especially with lots of fresh and moist tomatoes). Its tanginess is also a great compliment to woody truffles if you fancy splashing out on a treat. For the other end of the budget, it can raise the taste levels of a simple omelette.

It can be enjoyed as a savoury snack with basil and crusty bread with olive oil. A versatile cheese, its sweetness can also be enhanced by enjoying it with ripe berries, stone fruits and figs. Follow your burrata pizza with a dessert of fresh burrata with roasted strawberries and balsamic vinegar.
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