Whether served in warm, flaky, mozzarella sticks, sliced thinly on top of a piping hot margherita pizza, or served cold on thick, ripe, slices of tomato and topped with basil, mozzarella is versatile and so full of flavour. Since it’s a soft cheese and requires no aging it tastes fresh and watery, a departure from most cheeses which are richer in flavour and texture.
One of my favourite ways of chomping down on mozzarella is on a sandwich with tomato and pesto on a toasted baguette. I was craving one this September and bought all of the necessary ingredients, only to come home and find out that the inside of the ‘mozzarella’ ball was soft and gooey inside. I managed to make the sandwich, which was messier than usual, but never made one afterwards. Since that was my first mozzarella experience since moving to Ireland I thought that all Irish mozzarella was gooey. Until I started researching for this post I had never heard of burrata, a form of mozzarella, that is, yes, soft and gooey and creamy on the inside!
The two forms of mozzarella are initially made the same way, and have the same ingredients, but can be served very differently. Both are made out of water buffalo milk which is boiled and combined with rennet, citric acid, water, and salt. The curds form and are separated from the whey. Here’s where the similarities end.
Traditional buffalo mozzarella is an amalgamation of curds that form a solid, firm, ball of mozzarella. For burrata, the curds are combined to make a pouch of mozzarella. This pouch is then filled with curds and cream that ooze out when cut open. After finding out that there are two distinct types of soft mozzarella I felt so embarrassed! I’ve told so many people about “the big difference between American and Irish mozzarella”! There is no difference at all. In fact, there is one buffalo farm in Ireland, located in West Cork, that manufactures mozzarella.
Since I’ve now educated about myself about the difference between mozzarella and burrata I’ve begun thinking about the different ways to prepare each one of them. Naturally my mind turns to the traditional caprese salad, which is light, filling, and hands down delicious. This is a really easy meal or snack for students as well, since all you have to do is slice each ingredient up, (the best part is that you don’t have to choke down one of your 5-a-day!). The sandwich I mentioned earlier is another great and easy way of serving mozzarella. I slice up the tomatoes and cheese while lightly toasting a buttered baguette. I then spread a tiny bit of pesto on the bread, add the tomato and cheese, and voila!
The burrata stumped me because of its soupy consistency, but keeping students in mind, I thought it might make an excellent macaroni and cheese. I did a little research and found THIS recipe which seemed simple, delicious, and customisable. Unfortunately there wasn’t any burrata at the Dunnes location I visited. When I do find some I’ll whip that pasta up right away because it sounds amazing, so stay tuned!
Hopefully there will be a part two of this blog post when I try to make my very own batch of cow’s milk mozzarella You can’t run a cheese blog without getting a little dirty!