Mozzarella di bufala also originates from the province of Campania. Within that region it is mainly produced in the provinces of Caserta and Salerno.
Written evidence of the commercial use of buffalo milk dates back as far as the 14th century. The public had to wait until 1570 for the name ‘mozzarella’, when chef Bartolomeo Scappi put it on paper. It became a widely consumed product around the 18th century, thanks to the House of Bourbon, who set up a huge buffalo farm in Caserta.
The product was registered as a protected designation in 1996. Naturally, there are numerous rules governing the production of the original ‘Mozarella di bufala’. It may seem obvious, but one of the most important is that it must be made exclusively from buffalo milk. In this country, most mozzarella is made from cow’s milk. The composition of buffalo milk is different from that of milk from any other animal. It does not contain carotene and is therefore pure porcelain white in colour. It is also higher in calcium and protein.
No artificial additives are added during the manufacturing process. It is not preserved, aged or flavoured. The process involves keeping the milk at 33-39 degrees Celsius to extract the most suitable fats. It is then placed in special steel vats where it is left to form solids and separated from the liquid. Once this is done, the maker (yes, it is still done by hand) checks the cheese himself to see if it has passed the “stretch test”.
Once the cheese reaches its final consistency using hot water, the only phase left is the final stage, which is done by machine. This is the only such operation. It is the machine that cuts the cheese into its final shape. The centre of the original bufala mozzarella is soft and feels as if it wants to flow apart.
What makes water buffalo milk different from cow’s milk?
Water buffalo milk is very high in fat and casein, not easily digestible in its raw form, but very difficult to digest. We do not recommend it as a drink, but it is definitely worth tasting the food made from it; it is used as a base for mozzarella, burrata, ricotta di bufala, yoghurt and similar products. Italian Mediterranean buffalo milk is three times more expensive than cow’s milk, so don’t be surprised by the price tag on buffalo mozzarella! As these animals are only found in a few countries, mainly Italy and Bulgaria, most mozzarella is now made from cow’s milk. It is believed that the Italian Mediterranean buffalo breed was introduced to Italy in Roman times or later by barbarian invasions.