Burrata

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made with mozzarella and cream. The name burrata means ‘buttered’ in Italian and refers to the richness of the cheese. As exotic as it sounds, you can actually make this delicious cheese in about 30 minutes!

A year ago I had never even heard of burrata. My introduction to it came when my wife and I were in Avon, Colorado vacationing with with some good friends. They took us to one of there favorite restaurants and suggested the burrata as a starter. I happily complied and liked it so much that I almost ordered a second burrata for my main course! The balance between the fresh mozzarella outer shell and the rich, creamy filling is a great way to start a meal.

After a little research, I decide to try making burrata at home. It wasn’t without a few difficulties though. The first learning was that I really did need to have some type of rubber gloves to stretch the cheese. Normally, my hands can handle the heat, but when you are pulling the cheese straight out of the microwave, it gets pretty hot. The second learning was with the type of milk to use. Most people do not have access to fresh, raw milk, so you have to use the organic pasteurized milk from the grocery store. Just don’t use the ‘ultra’ pasteurized milk. Since it is pasteurized at a much higher temperature, it will not work…trust me. So how do you know if the milk is ‘ultra-pasteurized’? You can either read the fine print, or just look at the dates. If you see a carton does not expire for another 4-6 weeks, it is ultra-pasteurized. If you can find fresh milk, use it. I finally found some at Fresh Market and this is what it looked like:

Milk

Then come the ingredients. While not expensive, you will most likely need to order the key ingredients online. Mine come from New England Cheesemaking, and so does the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride (only if using store milk)
  • 1 1/2 level teaspoons citric acid dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon cheese salt

Instructions:

1. Pour gallon of milk into heavy stainless steel pot and add 1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride directly into the milk. While stirring constantly, add the citric acid solution.

2. Slowly heat the milk to 88-90 degrees (if using raw milk, heat to 100-105 degrees), stirring constantly.

3. When milk hits 88-90 degrees, turn off heat and add the rennet mixture and stir 1 or 2 turns around the pot. Then let the milk mixture sit for 5-10 minutes undisturbed.

4. When you see the curd pull away from the sides of the pot and seems firm (like soft tofu) cut the curd into 1 inch squares.

5. Place pot back over medium-low heat and heat the mixture to 105-108 degrees while stirring slowly. The curds will shrink and sink to the bottom of the pot as the whey (liquid) is released from the curds. When mixture hits between 105-108 degrees remove from heat and continue to slowly stir for about 10 minutes

6. Remove curds into a microwaveable bowl using a metal skimmer.

7. Take 1/4-1/3 of the curd mixture (depending on how much filling you want for your rolls or balls) and drain. Put in a small bowl and break the curd up with your fingers. Add about 1/4 tsp salt and 2-3 TB of cream to mixture. Stir the mixture. It should resemble cottage cheese.

8. Pour as much of the whey out of the microwaveable bowl, then microwave on high for 45-60 seconds. Continue to pout off and squeeze as much of the whey out of the curd.

When the curd is heated and stretchy add 1/4 ts of salt and knead it like you would bread. If it’s stretching, you’re ready to move on to the next step. If it’s not stretching yet, heat it again for 30 seconds. Split the mixture into 2 balls.

9. With your first ball, stretch into a flat circle. If it becomes too hard to stretch, microwave it for 15-20 seconds more or dunk in hot water. When it is pliable again, stretch into a round shape. Put on plate and add 1/2 of the curd/cream mixture down the middle. Fold the sides up, seal the ends and put the seal side down to seal the pouch. Repeat with the 2nd ball and remainder of the curd/cream mixture.

Eat immediately or cover tightly with saran wrap and put in refrigerator to eat later. I like to serve the burrata with heirloom tomatoes or crackers.

Any additional mozzarella can be shaped and formed into unfilled mozzarella balls.

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