This post originally appeared in an edition of What’s the Difference?, a weekly newsletter for the curious and confused by New York City writer Brette Warshaw. Eater will be publishing all editions that parse food-related differences, though those hardly scratch the surface of the world’s (and the newsletter’s) curiosities: Sign up to get What’s the Difference? in your inbox or catch up on the full archive.
What’s the difference between...
Mozzarella, Burrata, and Straciatella?
But before you send your butler to the cheese shop, let’s parse the difference between mozzarella and its creamy cousins.
Mozzarella is an old friend: a fresh cheese made with cow milk (or, in the case of mozzarella di bufala, water-buffalo milk). The milk is separated into curds and whey; the curds then get strained, sliced, and submerged in a bath of 180–185°F water. They’re kneaded until they’re stretchy and elastic, then shaped into smooth, round balls.
(There’s a wide spectrum of quality and appearance within mozzarelladom: there are the packets of low-moisture, pre-shredded stuff found in any grocery store in America, and the snow-white balls of it in Naples that shudder when you look at them. But each of these comes out of the same mozzarella-making process.)
You get straciatella when you take strands of fresh mozzarella and soak them in fresh cream; the result is a not-quite-solid, not-quite-liquid luxurious mess that makes a single piece of toast and cheese seem like it’s worth $9 at a fancy restaurant.
And burrata happens when you take a ball of mozzarella and fill it with that very straciatella, so that what looks like a solid mass of mozzarella ends up oozing a mozzarella-and-cream puddle as soon as you cut into it.
How’s that to cure your caprese ennui?