No Burrata, No Problem. Creamed Mozzarella Is A Perfect Stand-In

Though you can likely count on one hand the amount of times you've found yourself needing, but not having, burrata cheese, its absence still comes as a blow for fans. The soft texture and creamy flavor burrata brings to a salad, pasta dish, or just served on its own is enough to make anyone wish they had the stuff in constant supply. However, there is a wonderful stand-in that comes in the form of burrata's much-loved cousin, mozzarella. Though far more elastic in nature, a process known as creaming the mozzarella transforms it into a fantastic burrata substitute. 

If you were to judge solely on outward appearance, you cannot really tell the difference between a ball of mozzarella and a ball of burrata. Both are beautifully opaque, round, and shimmering, with a slight bounce to their texture. They share an Italian origin, and both derive from the same type of cow's milk (unless you buy traditional Italian buffalo-milk mozzarella). The difference lies in the interior. Where whole mozzarella is solid and elastic when sliced into, once you break through burrata's thin shell, you will get a soft, stringy interior bursting with gorgeously creamy cheese curds.

Despite mozzarella's elasticity, the creaming process makes the cheese behave more like the tangy soft burrata we know and love. And before you start thinking that this might be a terribly involved process, creaming mozzarella is very easy and very fast to achieve.

How to make creamed mozzarella

The creamed mozzarella technique can be credited to Michigan-based cook and food writer Abra Berens. The idea is to take a ball of firm, rather rubbery mozzarella and cream it together with other ingredients so that it resembles the soft curd of the burrata cheese. To do this you will need a ball of mozzarella, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt.

Start by tearing the mozzarella into small chunks into a bowl. Once the whole ball is disassembled, add the sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt, and mix everything together. Rather suddenly, you will see a transformation. The acidity in the sour cream and lemon breaks down the structure of the mozzarella to the point where it becomes as soft and creamy as burrata. The texture is still slightly more elastic than traditional burrata, but that is to be expected. Creamed mozzarella is as close to the real thing as you're going to get without having any burrata on hand.

You can put your creamed mozzarella to good use by making burrata crostini, tossing it in with mixed greens or roasted tomatoes, or enjoying it with a bowl of pesto pasta, perhaps. Whatever you choose, creamed mozzarella is a simple solution for whenever you fancy a quick upgrade to standard mozzarella.