Even though burrata looks a lot like mozzarella, it's not mozzarella. How do you know? Slice open a ball of mozzarella and it will only reveal more mozzarella, but slicing open a ball of burrata feels like popping a big bag of creamy cheese that flows, thick all over. That's one way you can tell the difference.
Specifically, however, a soft, fresh Italian burrata cheese is fluffy, creamy, bright white in color, and is super-smooth in your mouth.
Burrata is a special type of cheese that starts with mozzarella cheese which is shredded and soaked with curds and cream then combined and stuffed into a mozzarella bag to make one big ball of burrata.
Like I said, the outer shell of the burrata is made from mozzarella, but can be mode from cow or buffalo milk. The water buffalo to be more specific. The water buffalo's milk (mozzarella di bufala), is much harder to find and when you do find it, will generally be more expensive.
Mozzarella is one of the cheeses that's elastic. It's what's called a "pasta filata" cheese, a process that originated in Southern Italy, or "stretched-curd" cheese. The latter named for the method in which it's made.
Immersing curds into hot saltwater while pulling and stretching makes them pliable and the process makes mozzarella after only a few minutes. Perhaps you have seen or had mozzarella made table-side served with a caprice salad at a fancy Italian restaurant before. You need to try if you have not. It's quite amazing to taste, but even more, for me, was to see the curds come together and join forces.
For mozzarella, the process is now essentially and the cheese should be eaten within a few days. For other pasta filata, such as Provolone, Caciocavallo Silano, Pallone di Gravina and Scamorza, further aging and in some cases brining or smoking is required before they are ready for consumption.
The insides of burrata cheese are filled with a soft doughy mixture of curd and fresh cream. When sliced open, the insides spill out, so be sure to have your burrata on a lipped plate. That way you won't lose any creamy essence.
So, Basically, Burrata is mozzarella and cream in a hot cheese pouch.
To complete a burrata, typically, it's wrapped in a green asphodel leaf. The color of the leaf can help the buyer know the age of the cheese.
The leaves from the asphodels plants and the burrata cheese have a similar lifespan, so fresh, green leaves wrapped around a burrata mean it's as fresh as possible. Older, browning leaves mean the burrata has sat for a few days and is not as fresh. Dried out asphodel leaves mean the burrata is past its prime and should be avoided.
As you can see by now, burrata cheese is very similar to mozzarella cheese, but it's just not mozzarella.