It takes just a few ingredients to craft this richer, creamier cousin of mozzarella. A cheese expert leads you through the process, step-by-step.
On any given day at Murrayâ€™s Cheese Shop in New York Cityâ€™s Greenwich Village, youâ€™ll find some 200 different kinds of cheese, ready for sampling. As someone who has introduced countless customers to myriad mind-blowing varieties, I can say with confidence that one in particular steals everyoneâ€™s heart: burrata. And for good reasonâ€”silky, milky, and wonderful, burrata is like the best fresh mozzarella youâ€™ve ever had, only better.
Although burrata is not mozzarella, itâ€™s made from mozzarella. More precisely, burrata is a supple pouch of tender mozzarella stuffed with stracciatella, a luscious blend of fresh cream and soft mozzarella shreds.
Invented in southern Italy, burrata began as a frugal way for cheesemakers to use mozzarella scraps. But the concoction was so wonderful, it promptly became a delicacy in its own right. The only trouble is that the cheeseâ€™s exquisiteness is ephemeral. Burrata is meant to be eaten within hours, if not immediately, and itâ€™s certainly past its prime after 48. This is the best argument I can put forth for learning to make it. Your own burrata will be fresher, more delicious, andâ€”ultimatelyâ€”less expensive than any you can buy in a store.
For all its allure, burrata is among the simplest of cheeses. If thereâ€™s one thing I want you to hold in mind, itâ€™s this: Yes, making it involves lots of little steps, but this is not a monumental undertaking by any means. The entire process will take less than one hour. (And a mere 15 minutes if you donâ€™t make your own curds!)
I offer you two possible starting points: You can begin by coagulating high-quality pasteurized milk into curds and whey, or you can begin with curd that youâ€™ve purchased. (If youâ€™re doing the latter, start at step 4 in the step-by-step photos below). Donâ€™t feel like youâ€™re cheating if you opt to buy curd instead of making it. Do people who make their own curds stress out about not milking the cow? Of course not. Whether you begin your burrata with milk or with curd, your end result will be delicious. It may take a few tries before you are producing beautiful looking balls of burrata, but regardless, all will taste divine.
Step by Step: How to Make Burrata
1. Add the dissolved citric acid and then the dissolved rennet to the milk mixture and let sit.
2. When the curd resembles a mass of silken tofu, use a long, sharp knife to slice the curd into 1-inch cubes
3. Gently scoop the curds out of the pot into a colander set over a large bowl.
4. For the stracciatella filling, remove one-quarter of the curds to a bowl, and add cream and salt.
5. Transfer the remaining curds to a bowl, and pour or ladle hot water aroundâ€”not directly ontoâ€”them until submerged. Let sit for 60 to 90 seconds.
6. Gather half of the curds into a ball, lift it from the bowl and let it stretch down into the water.
7. Continue to stretch the mozzarella until shiny and elastic.
8. Gently form the stretched piece of mozzarella into a 5- to a 6-inch disk about ¼ inch thick, and spoon the stracciatella filling into the center.
9. Twist the burrata ball to seal and place it into an ice bath. Repeat the process with the remaining mozzarella and filling.