Mozzarella vs Burrata

Mozzarella and burrata are two staples in the world of Italian cheeses that have delighted palates across the globe.

While at first glance you might mistake one for the other due to their creamy texture and white color, there are distinct differences that set them apart.

Mozzarella is known for its firmness and versatility in cooking, as well as its stringy, melt-worthy quality that makes it a favorite topping for pizzas and salads.

A wooden cutting board displays mozzarella and burrata cheese, with a knife beside them. Sunlight streams in from a window, casting shadows on the textured surface

On the other hand, burrata offers a unique experience with an outer shell of solid mozzarella that gives way to an indulgently soft and creamy center made of stracciatella and cream.

This rich filling is what characterizes burrata and differentiates it not just in texture but also in taste. When you cut into a ball of burrata, the creamy interior oozes out, providing a rich and buttery flavor that’s slightly more intense than mozzarella’s milky simplicity.

Your choice between mozzarella and burrata may come down to the dish you’re preparing as well as the sensory experience you’re seeking.

Mozzarella’s semi-soft structure makes it a resilient and adaptable cheese, ideal for heating and stretching.

On the other hand, burrata is often preferred fresh, gracing the top of salads, crusty bread, or served alongside ripe tomatoes to allow its delicate nuances to shine. Whether incorporated into a recipe or savored on its own, each cheese brings its own unique charm to the table.

Origins and History

The cheeses mozzarella and burrata both hail from Italy, with roots deeply embedded in the country’s cheese-making heritage. Each cheese reflects the character and tradition of its region, embodying the ingenuity of Italian cheese artisans.

Origins of Mozzarella

Mozzarella began its story in the region of Campania in southern Italy. You may find it interesting to know that the cheese owes its existence to the influence of Arab settlers during the medieval period.

  • Location: Campania, Southern Italy
  • Milk Source: Water Buffalo
  • Introduced By: Arab Settlers (Medieval Period)

Origins of Burrata

In contrast, burrata is a more modern invention from the 1920s. You can trace its origins to the city of Andria within the Murgia area of the Puglia region.

  • Location: Andria, Puglia
  • Invention Era: 1920s
  • Inventor: Lorenzo Bianchino Chieppa

Regional Importance

Both cheeses are not just culinary delights but also cultural emblems of their respective regions. In Campania, mozzarella’s prominence indicates the longstanding tradition of dairy craftsmanship. Meanwhile, in Puglia, burrata’s creation is a testament to the resourcefulness and adaptability of local cheesemakers.

  • Mozzarella: Emblem of Campania’s dairy tradition
  • Burrata: Symbol of Puglia’s innovative spirit

Cheese Characteristics

In exploring the characteristics of mozzarella and burrata, you’ll find that there are distinct differences in texture and flavor, as well as in the ingredients and methods used to create each cheese.

Texture and Flavor Profiles

Mozzarella is known for its elastic texture, allowing it to stretch when melted, which is a cherished quality in dishes like pizza. The taste is milky and delicate, more subtle than burrata.

There are two main types of fresh mozzarella: fior di latte, made from cow’s milk, and mozzarella di bufala, made from the richer milk of water buffalo, which is creamier.

  • Texture: Elastic, stringy
  • Flavor: Delicate, milky

Burrata, on the other hand, offers a creamy center known as stracciatella, which enriches its flavor profile to be richer and more buttery than mozzarella.

When you cut into burrata, the creamy inside contrasts well with its firmer, stretched curd pouch, delivering a unique and luxurious texture experience.

  • Texture: Creamy inside, firmer outside
  • Flavor: Richer, creamier

Ingredients and Cheese-Making Process

To make mozzarella, you need curd from either cow’s or water buffalo milk that is heated and then subjected to the pasta filata process, where the curd is stretched or pulled.

This is followed by whey removal and shaping into balls, which are then typically stored in brine or a whey solution to retain moisture.

  • Milk: Cow’s/Water Buffalo
  • Process: Pasta filata method

Burrata begins with a similar process to mozzarella, involving the creation of a pouch from the stretched curd.

It is then filled with a mixture of cream and soft, stringy curd called stracciatella, which is not heated as much.

This lesser handling preserves the cream’s fresh and rich qualities. Rennet is used in forming the initial curd for both cheeses.

  • Milk: Cow’s (typically)
  • Process: Filled pouch with stracciatella and cream

Nutritional Values

When considering mozzarella and burrata, you’ll find differences in their nutritional profiles, particularly in terms of their fat, protein, and sodium content. These differences are important to consider based on your dietary preferences or restrictions.

Fat Content

Burrata:

  • Higher in fat
  • Contains a creamy center that increases overall fat content

Mozzarella:

  • Lower in fat compared to burrata
  • A healthier option if you’re managing your fat intake
TypeFat Content
Burrata (1 oz)Approx. 8 g
Mozzarella (1 oz)Approx. 6 g

Protein and Sodium Content

Protein:

  • Mozzarella offers slightly more protein per ounce, making it a better choice for muscle repair and growth.
  • Protein Content per ounce: Mozzarella has about 5 grams, whereas burrata has about 3 grams.

Sodium:

  • Both cheeses can contribute to your daily sodium intake, but traditionally, mozzarella may have less sodium.
  • You should take into account the sodium content if you’re monitoring salt intake for health reasons.
TypeProtein ContentSodium Content
Burrata (1 oz)Approx. 3 gVaries by brand
Mozzarella (1 oz)Approx. 5 gVaries by brand

Culinary Uses

When selecting between mozzarella and burrata for your dishes, consider not only the flavors but also how each cheese complements different meal components. Here’s how you can use these cheeses to elevate your cooking.

Mozzarella in Dishes

Mozzarella’s superb meltability makes it a staple in pizzas and pasta dishes.

Its stretchiness and mild flavor are perfect for creating that desirable cheese pull in a grilled cheese sandwich or atop a chicken parmesan.

In salad, particularly Caprese, fresh mozzarella, when paired with tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, offers a refreshing taste.

For appetizers, consider using mozzarella in bruschetta or crostini, complementing the crunchy texture of crusty bread.

  • Pizzas: Essential for the classic cheese pizza, add atop the sauce and bake.
  • Pasta: Bake in lasagna or melt into a creamy pasta sauce.
  • Salad: Slice fresh and layer in a Caprese with tomatoes and basil.
  • Bread: Top on your favorite bruschetta recipe for a gooey addition.
  • Sandwiches: Melt into grilled cheese or panini for a comforting meal.

Burrata Pairings

Burrata, with its rich and creamy interior, is ideal for dishes where it can remain uncooked, preserving its delicate texture.

Enjoy burrata as the star of a summer salad or as an addition to grilled vegetables for a creamy contrast.

Pairing it with ripe tomatoes and fresh basil not only employs the flavors of a traditional Caprese salad but also allows the cheese to shine alongside simple, quality ingredients.

Burrata can also be served over crusty bread as a luxurious appetizer, or it can transform a simple sandwich into a gourmet experience.

  • Salads: Add atop a summer salad for a touch of creaminess.
  • Sandwiches: Use in a gourmet sandwich as an upscale filling.
  • Appetizers: Serve with olive oil and crusty bread for dipping.
  • Tomatoes: Pair with heirloom tomatoes and basil for a fresh Caprese.
  • Grilled Vegetables: Top on warm vegetables for a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Serving and Storage Recommendations

A platter with mozzarella neatly arranged in rows, while burrata is delicately placed in the center. A sign beside them reads "Serving and Storage Recommendations."

To enjoy the delicate flavors of mozzarella and burrata to the fullest, understanding the ideal serving conditions and best storage practices is crucial.

Handling each cheese properly ensures both safety and taste are maintained.

Ideal Serving Conditions

For an optimal taste experience, serve mozzarella and burrata at room temperature.

This allows the cheeses’ textures and flavors to be fully appreciated. Before serving, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to sit for about 30 minutes.

  • Mozzarella:
    • Best served at: 18-21°C (64-70°F)
  • Burrata:
    • Best served at: 18-21°C (64-70°F)

Preservation and Shelf Life

When storing both mozzarella and burrata, it is best to keep them in the refrigerator, which provides the appropriate cooling to extend their shelf lives.

For mozzarella, particularly the fresh type, wrap it in a damp cloth or keep it in its original liquid in an airtight container.

  • Mozzarella:
    • Storage location: Refrigerator (at or below 4°C / 40°F)
    • Shelf life: Up to 1 week when stored in an airtight container with its liquid

For burrata, immediate consumption is recommended due to its higher cream content and freshness, but if you must store it:

  • Burrata:
    • Storage location: Refrigerator (at or below 4°C / 40°F)
    • Shelf life: 1-2 days and should remain in its original packaging or airtight container

Remember, never store these cheeses at room temperature as it will accelerate spoilage.

Comparing Mozzarella and Burrata

Mozzarella and burrata are both celebrated Italian cheeses with distinct qualities that cater to a variety of palates and culinary uses. https://www.youtube.com/embed/BJpza2sQgKc

Key Differences

Mozzarella:

  • Origin: Southern Italy
  • Type: Pasta filata (pulled curd) cheese
  • Texture: Firmer and more elastic
  • Flavor: Delicate and slightly tangy
  • Protein content: Higher (5 grams per ounce)

Burrata:

  • Origin: Murgia region of Italy
  • Type: Fresh cheese with a unique creamy filling
  • Texture: Outer shell similar to mozzarella, with a soft, creamy inside containing ‘stracciatella’ (shreds of cheese soaked in cream)
  • Flavor: Richer and more buttery
  • Protein content: Lower (3 grams per ounce)

Interchangeability in Recipes

  • Salads and Appetizers: Both cheeses can be used, but burrata’s creaminess elevates the dish.
  • Cooked Dishes: Mozzarella is preferred for its melt-ability and mild flavor that doesn’t overpower other ingredients.
  • Substitution: While they can sometimes be substituted for one another, the difference in moisture content and texture should be considered to maintain the integrity of your recipe.

Purchasing Guide

When seeking out the finest mozzarella and burrata for your culinary endeavors, consider both the cheese’s quality and its availability. These factors ensure that you get the best experience whether you’re gracing your dishes with these Italian delights or enjoying them on their own.

Selecting Quality Cheese

Mozzarella: To ensure you’re getting high-quality mozzarella, look for the term “pasta filata” on the packaging. This refers to the traditional method of making the cheese, which involves stretching and pulling the curd.

When buying buffalo mozzarella, also known as the “queen of Italian cheeses”, confirm that it’s made from the milk of the Italian Mediterranean buffalo for authenticity and richer flavor.

Fresh mozzarella should be soft and moist, sold in liquid, typically whey or brine, and consumed within a few days of purchase.

  • Appearance: Shiny, white surface; uniform texture.
  • Touch: Should feel supple and spring back when pressed.

Burrata: This cheese conceals a creamy interior within a firmer mozzarella shell. Fresh burrata should also be purchased as close to the consumption date as possible.

When selecting burrata, the outer shell should be smooth and the insides should ooze slightly when cut.

  • Packaging: Usually sold in a container to hold the cream.
  • Freshness is crucial – it should appear moist and have a subtly sweet, fresh milk scent.

Availability in Stores

Grocery Store: Both mozzarella and burrata can typically be found in well-stocked grocery stores, but for a more specialized selection, check the deli section or visit an Italian specialty store.

  • Pieces of Mozzarella: Commonly available in various forms including balls, slices, or shreds.
  • Burrata: Often found near other fresh cheeses; less ubiquitous than mozzarella.

Local farmers’ markets and cheese shops might also offer artisanal options that provide an elevated taste experience. If unavailable locally, try gourmet food retailers online.

Cultural Significance

When indulging in Italian cuisine, you soon realize that mozzarella and burrata are more than just ingredients; they are icons of Italian culture and sought-after delicacies that have garnered global affection.

Mozzarella and Burrata in Italian Culture

Mozzarella, often lauded as the queen of Italian cheeses, originates from the rural landscapes of Italy.

Made traditionally from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo, this cheese is a testament to the rich heritage and craft of Italian cheesemaking. Its cultural significance is amplified by its ubiquity in Italian dishes and the artistry embedded in its production.

Burrata, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer but no less decadent.

Hailing from Puglia, it began as an ingenious solution to waste no part of the mozzarella. Today, it stands as a culinary achievement, embodying the creativity and zest of Italian culture.

Its fleeting freshness requires you to consume it soon after creation, enhancing its status as a culinary delicacy.

Popularity Worldwide

  • Italy to the World: Both cheeses have transcended Italian borders, introducing the world to the essence of Italian dairy craftsmanship.
  • Mozzarella: Revered globally, it is versatile and present in various cuisines, owing to its longer shelf life.
  • Burrata: It has become a luxurious treat for cheese aficionados worldwide, often featured in high-end restaurants to provide an indulgent experience.

Pairings and Garnishes

When you select garnishes and pairings for mozzarella and burrata cheeses, remember that simplicity often leads to a harmony of flavors. These cheeses lend themselves to a variety of delicious combinations.

Herbs and Spices

Basil is a classic herb that complements the subtle flavors of mozzarella, especially in a Caprese salad.

It’s a simple but distinctive pairing where the freshness of the basil cuts through the creaminess of the cheese.

  • Mozzarella Pairings:
    • Basil
    • Oregano
    • Black pepper
  • Burrata Pairings:
    • Mint
    • Chive
    • Red pepper flakes

Drizzles and Toppings

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil adds depth to the delicate taste of mozzarella and burrata, enhancing their natural flavors.

Balsamic vinegar introduces a tangy contrast, particularly with burrata due to its more pronounced creaminess.

Mozzarella Drizzles and Toppings:

  • Olive oil: A staple with antipasti
  • Honey: For a touch of sweetness against the mild cheese

Burrata Drizzles and Toppings:

  • Balsamic glaze: Adds a sweet and tart dimension
  • Fresh figs: Offer a jammy sweetness that complements the rich core

Additional Toppings:

  • Prosciutto: Its salty savoriness pairs excellently with both mozzarella and burrata
  • Fresh fruit: Stone fruits or berries provide a burst of sweetness and acidity that can elevate the overall flavor profile

Innovations and Variations

In the cheese world, mozzarella and burrata have not just remained classics; they have been platforms for culinary innovation. Producers and chefs alike have taken these beloved cheeses in exciting new directions.

Modern Takes on Classic Cheeses

Production Techniques: Advances in production have introduced variations of mozzarella like Mozzarella di Bufala, which offers a richer taste due to the use of buffalo milk.

Burrata, originally a method to use up scraps of mozzarella, has been elevated by incorporating cream into the remnants, forming a soft center encased in a smooth mozzarella shell.

Lorenzo Bianchino’s Influence: Famed cheese artisan Lorenzo Bianchino introduced groundbreaking spins on traditional mozzarella. His signature technique involves a delicate hand-pulling process that enhances the cheese’s texture and flavor profile.

Chef-Inspired Creations

Culinary Experiments: Chefs have taken these cheeses beyond their classic roles in salads and appetizers.

Mozzarella and burrata are now key players in innovative dishes that layer flavors and textures, stretching the boundaries of traditional Italian cooking.

  • Mozzarella Innovations:
    • Infused flavors like truffle, pesto, or sun-dried tomato
    • Smoked varieties offering a deeper taste dimension
  • Burrata Creations:
    • Sweet applications, contrasting its creaminess with fruit compotes
    • Savory concoctions paired with cured meats or roasted vegetables

Health Considerations

A table with two plates: one with mozzarella, the other with burrata. A nutrition label for each cheese sits next to its respective plate

When selecting between mozzarella and burrata, consider the health aspects which include dietary restrictions and potential allergens. These can have significant impacts on your dietary choices and overall health.

Dietary Restrictions

Mozzarella:

  • Typically low in fat and calories (especially in its part-skim version).
  • Provides a moderate amount of protein.
  • Carbohydrate content is minimal.

Burrata:

  • Higher in fat and cream, leading to increased calorie content.
  • Richer in protein due to the creamier interior.
  • Contains minimal carbohydrates but may be higher than mozzarella due to the creamy filling.

Both cheeses should be consumed in moderation within a balanced diet. If you’re monitoring calorie intake or following a low-fat diet, mozzarella might be the preferable option.

Allergy Information

Lactose:

  • Both mozzarella and burrata contain lactose, although generally low in fresh cheeses.
  • Lactose intolerant individuals might tolerate them in small quantities.

Milk Proteins:

  • Contain casein and whey, which can provoke reactions in individuals with milk protein allergies.
  • Cross-contamination with other allergens is possible, so check packaging if you have multiple food allergies.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, you’ll find clear answers to common inquiries about the distinctive qualities and nutritional aspects of mozzarella and burrata cheeses.

What distinguishes burrata from buffalo mozzarella in terms of taste?

Burrata boasts a creamy interior encased in a firmer outer shell, leading to a rich and buttery flavor profile, while buffalo mozzarella has a tangy taste with a spongy texture.

Is there a difference in calories when comparing mozzarella to burrata?

Yes, there is a caloric difference; burrata is typically higher in calories due to its cream-filled center compared to standard mozzarella.

How do the nutritional values of mozzarella and burrata differ?

Burrata generally has more fat and calories due to the cream content, whereas mozzarella is lighter with lower fat content, making it a less calorically dense option.

Can mozzarella be used as a substitute for burrata in recipes?

You can substitute mozzarella for burrata, especially in recipes where texture and meltability are key; however, the unique creaminess of burrata will not be replicated.

What sets burrata apart from other similar cheeses like bocconcini?

Burrata is unique with its creamy center, whereas bocconcini are small mozzarella balls that are uniformly solid and elastic with a milder flavor.

Does burrata offer any health advantages over mozzarella?

Burrata and mozzarella both offer a good source of calcium and protein.

However, burrata’s higher fat and calorie content may make mozzarella a healthier choice for those watching their intake.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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