Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Aaron
Mozzarella and burrata are both Italian cheese varieties that have become staples in the culinary world. Mozzarella is a semi-soft white cheese made from cow’s or buffalo’s milk, while burrata is essentially the mozzarella that’s filled with stracciatella (not the ice cream) in the center. Stracciatella is a cream-like filling made up of mozzarella shreds and cream.
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Mozzarella is much, much older
The name of mozzarella originates from “mozzare”, which is a verb that means “to cut off” or “cut into pieces.” The mozzarella was first mentioned in the 12th century, made in southern Italy and continues to be a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine, especially pizza or lasagna. Mozzarella has a mild flavor and elastic spongy texture that makes it an excellent melting cheese.
Burrata was developed much later in the 1900s by cheesemakers from Puglia, Italy. The word “burrata” comes from the Italian word for “buttered,” which makes sense considering that it’s filled with creamy stracciatella. Burrata has a soft outer casing and creamy inside and a slightly sweet flavor, making it the perfect cheese for salads, sandwiches or just eating on its own.
Burrata is a stracciatella-filled mozzarella
Mozzarella and burrata are both made similarly using a traditional Italian method called pasta filata (spun curd or stretched curd) The milk is first curdled with rennet or enzyme to form curds. Curds are then stretched and kneaded to plasticise in 80-90ºC heated water until the desired texture is achieved. And lastly, drop it into cold water to hold the shape.
The difference lies in the way that the cheese is formed: mozzarella is formed into balls, while burrata is shaped into an envelope before being filled with stracciatella. This process creates two different variations: mozzarella is firmer and more elastic, while burrata has a softer outer casing with a creamier center.
Stracciatella means ‘little rag’ or ‘shred or shreds’ in Italian. Traditionally, stracciatella is prepared by shredding (hand-frayed) the stretched mozzarella curds into strands, whereby the texture is similar to mozzarella string cheese. Later add cream and then stir to mix it in. But now you can find different styles of burrata that use different types of fillings. Some use cultured ‘aged’ mozzarella shreds to add more flavor, while others use ricotta to combine with heavy cream.
Burrata extra creaminess, bring extra calories
While they are not the same, you can substitute burrata for mozzarella and vice versa in many recipes as burrata is one of the best alternatives available. They taste almost the same but mozzarella is more versatile. Mozzarella is a good melting cheese, while burrata adds a creamier dimension as the star element to each dish. And also because of that extra creaminess, burrata is typically 20-40% higher in calories and fat content. So if you are watching your calorie intake, mozzarella might be the better choice.