What’s the Difference Between Burrata and Mozzarella?

It’s hard to go wrong with burrata or mozzarella cheese, but while they may look it, these Italian cheeses are not one and the same. On the outside, burrata and mozzarella look like simple and soft cow’s milk cheeses. Inside burrata, though, a treasure trove of rich, milky stracciatella cheese awaits. This key, cream-filled difference stems from the cheese-making process, according to the founder of That Cheese Plate, Marissa Mullen. “The process to make mozzarella and burrata are slightly different,” Mozzarella is made by heating and pulling cheese curds in a process called ‘pasta filata.’ The cheese goes through a stretching process using hot water or whey and molded into small rounds.”

Burrata, on the other hand, is like a cheese within a cheese, with stracciatella (a creamy, milky cheese) on the inside and mozzarella on the outside. “Burrata is made by using mozzarella cheese, stretched to include a small pouch that holds fresh cream and cheese curd,” Mullen says. “Because of this, burrata is much richer and creamier than a traditional mozzarella.” How to Eat Burrata Cheese While mozzarella and burrata can be enjoyed with similar dishes like Italian meats, burrata isn’t simply a creamier version of mozzarella. “Since burrata’s texture is more buttery, it goes beautifully paired with crostini or fresh bread,” Mullen says. “I also like to serve burrata with olive oil or balsamic vinegar to blend with the flavor of the inner cream. Because burrata and mozzarella are fresh cheeses, they blend nicely with other fresh items. I love to add toppings to the burrata such as olives, tomatoes, fresh figs and peaches.” Burrata can also add a dash of rich creaminess to those beloved mozzarella dishes. “You can interchange burrata and mozzarella with a variety of pairings, but you’ll have to be prepared for the textural differences,” Mullen says. “Burrata does not shred like mozzarella, holds far more liquid and has much more of a creamy flavor. If you’re down with the decadence, add burrata to a pizza, to a salad or even on a sandwich.” Stephanie Vermillion “What’s the Difference Between Burrata and Mozzarella?” 15 January 2021.

Best Way to Freeze Sourdough Bread to Lock in Taste & Texture

The best method from our experience, that doesn’t compromise on texture and flavour in any way is to slice it up, flash freeze it, and bag it up in freezer-safe bags with the air taken out. This way, whenever I need a slice or two, I just pop it in the toaster, and I have fresh sourdough bread at my fingertips.

Here’s a really quick step-by-step how-to, with further explanation below.

Now let’s go into a little more detail about each step and the reason why this method has an advantage over freezing a whole loaf when it comes to flavour and texture. Once your bread is completely cooled, you will want to slice the whole thing. Normally, it is recommended to slice the bread as and when you need it, in order to retain its freshness, but as it will all be frozen, go ahead and slice the whole loaf. I use an ice cube tray from my freezer, but you can use any tray that will fit on a shelf in your freezer.

Put your tray into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. This is called flash freezing. It will not completely freeze the bread, but it will freeze the outer layers enough to make sure the bread doesn’t stick together when you store them in the freezer-safe bag. This is not enough time for your bread to develop any freezer burn, and so the flavor and texture will remain as it is.

Now that the sourdough bread is partially frozen, you can stack them together in a resealable freezer-safe bag, and they won’t stick together. Remove as much air as possible from the bag to retain freshness in the bread. This is also what will prevent freezer burn. The slices can be taken out when needed, and put straight into the toaster from frozen. It will taste as good as, if not better than the day after it was baked! One thing very specific about sourdough bread, is that it contains enzymes that are not found in other breads. This makes sourdough bread suitable to freeze once. You cannot refreeze sourdough bread. And so, because you cannot refreeze it, it is best to slice it up so you only need to defrost exactly how much bread you need. And the rest of the loaf will stay fresh in the freezer. Sourdough bread not only maintains its freshness in the freezer, but it actually continues to sour at a very slow rate while it is frozen, and so the flavor continues to develop. When you take it out of the freezer and toast it, it will taste as if it has just been baked and toasted. And depending on how long it has been in the freezer, it may even taste better than it did when you first baked it. So what is so special about slicing it up first? Why not just freeze the whole loaf. Well, you could, but there are few things to consider…

It is Less Versatile to Freeze a Whole Loaf of Bread

When you have a whole loaf in the freezer, you only have the option of defrosting the whole loaf, even if you only needed a slice or two. And then the bread will become stale far quicker once it has been defrosted.

It Takes a lot Longer to Defrost a Whole Sourdough Loaf than it does to Defrost only a Slice.

Defrosting an entire loaf will take about 4 or 5 hours, depending on how big it is. And this time is also spent having the loaf out, which decreases it’s freshness further. Or alternatively, you can rebake it in the oven for a period of time (usually around the same amount of time it took to bake it in the first place!), which will thicken your crust, and increase the risk of your loaf becoming too dry.

How To Keep Sourdough Fresh

What is the best way to store the bread to keep it fresh for longer?

Sourdough bread will stay fresh for the longest in a cotton bag. This will give it enough protection from completely drying out, and also give it enough breathability to prevent it from becoming too moist and gluey.

Is it better to slice sourdough bread all at once, or as you need it?

It is definitely better to slice sourdough bread as you go rather than all at once. This will prevent premature staling. The other option is to slice the whole loaf and then freeze the slices Source
When to Cut Sourdough Bread to get Beautiful Even Slices

What is the Best Way to Cut Sourdough Bread to Get Even Slices

The technique is an important part of making sure those slices are even and beautiful looking. Here are some tips to slicing sourdough bread the best way:

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

A bread slicing knife uses a ‘sawing’ action to cut through the crust. This action reduces the pressure put on the bread, saving it from getting squashed during slicing. It has a long serrated slicing-edge to help you slice with correct technique. It goes without saying of course; the sharper the better. A durable good quality bread knife goes a long way to making bread slicing neat and tidy. It’s important to let the knife do the work and not your brute strength. Most people try to slice bread by pushing the knife downwards, but this puts pressure on the bread and squashes it, giving you messy slices. Hold the bread firmly in place with one hand, and slice through the bread with the other, using a forward-backwards ‘sawing’ action MORE THAN a downward action. Take your time, the bread will slice a lot neater when given the chance. Be sure to hold the knife parallel to the chopping board, NOT angled down at one end. Yes, you read that correctly. Put the bread on its side to get the best slice! Often with homemade bread, the side of the bread has the hardest crust and the shortest edge. So cutting through the bread side first will mean the greatest pressure is put on the bread at the beginning when the bread has the most amount of structure. And you also have less to cut through as it’s the shorter edge.


When to Cut Sourdough Bread to get Beautiful Even Slices

Understanding Hydroponic – The Future of Farming

You’ve heard the term Hydroponics – but what is it exactly? Simply put, Hydroponics is a process of growing plants with nutrient-rich water and without any soil.

With Hydroponics, a farmer can manage the nutrients the plants needs in a way that they get exactly what they need. Hydroponic farms are designed with high-precision control and technology.

It’s nurturing the plants in an indoor, climate-controlled environment with the right temperature, lighting, nutrition and water to positively influence they way the plant grows. Micro-attention is paid to the health of the plant in its growth to increase the nutritional value of the crop.

When Compared To Traditional Soil-Grown Crop Production, Hydroponics Has the Following Advantages:


How to store Livfresh farms Greens.

Our nutrient-rich greens are caringly cultivated in a pollution-free, chemical-free and sustainable environment using hydroponic farming processes. With no chemicals,GMO and pesticides, we grow our vegetables with technology that uses less energy, less water and ensures clean, fresh and responsible production.

Our Brown bags in which you get your Greens are super eco friendly… At Livfresh its our conscious effort to minimise carbon prints on earth and that’s why our Brown bags have no plastic or wax coating still keeping your greens safe.

There are few ways to do this….. Tap dry the greens throughly, then drape them in the Paper Towel and put them in the ziplock bag. Easiest way put them in a ziplock bag making sure that the excess air is squeezed out of bag, and every time you take out the greens squeeze the excess air before putting them back.

Line a Plastic Storage container with the paper towel, tap dry the greens and put them in an even layer on top, cover it with another layer of paper towels, before locking down the lid. Don’t jam pack or over crowd the greens in the box, and try not to wash the greens before storing them.

Storing the Greens in a container with the paper towel is definitely a winner! Being able to store tender greens for up to a week is really convenient and will allow to buy bigger amounts, saving time and money. The hard side of the container really protect the greens from getting mover around or crushed like they would come in bags, and paper towels help to absorb the excess moisture.

Those who wish to wash the greens before storing, Wash them right once you get home. Make sure they’re completely dry, you can also drain them to let all the moisture out. Before tossing them in the fridge, wrap them in a cloth or paper towel to ensure they dry. (Leafy greens are susceptible to deathly moisture-you really don’t want your greens to go bad same day you bought them)

Little Greens with Super Powers

Microgreens are the seedlings of plants, This is typically early in the life cycle of the plant, some time after the first leaves emerge. They are usually used to add flavour and color to dishes, and have been making waves as a nutrient-dense superfood.

Microgreens can be grown from most types of seeds. Apart from salad greens, leafy vegetables and edible flowers, some legumes (beans, lentils) and grains (rice, barley, buckwheat) are sometimes grown as microgreens.

Today, let’s explore more about this superfood.

Did you know those little microgreens have up to 40 times the antioxidants and polyphenols of the mature plant? They are truly nutrition dynamos. Antioxidants and polyphenols are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, and can help lower the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Microgreens also provide more intense flavor, which is terrific for seniors with reduced taste sensitivity – they get the rich taste and strengthen cognitive health.

Microgreens can add an intense punch of flavor to your dishes – sweet, sour, pungent, bitter. They actually embody a concentrated dose of the full-sized vegetable’s flavor and nutrition. Microgreens are rich in many vitamins and minerals. Some healthy varieties for you to grow or buy are pea shoots, radish, sunflower, wheatgrass, mustard, etc. Add them to your salads or main dishes or even to a juice or smoothie.

Eating microgreens is generally considered safe. While there is contamination risk from E. coli, this risk arises from a mixture of the type/composition of the microgreen, and time spent in storage. To enjoy, always check the sell-by date and consume within the week from purchase.

There are many ways to include microgreens in your diet – juices and smoothies are popular examples. Given their vibrant colors and distinct taste profiles, microgreens work especially well as a garnish over food, beverages and desserts! Growing them at home is simple – you just need a sunny windowsill, seeds, a shallow pot and some potting mix.

Place a pot with soil on a sunny windowsill, outdoors or balcony with ample sun. Moisten soil well, scatter a handful of mustard seeds, gently pressing into soil. Check soil for moistness daily and water lightly as needed. When you see a pot full of tiny leaves, harvest by pulling gently out with the roots. Rinse off soil & add to salads, sandwiches, garnish a stir fry.

The broccoli microgreen looks completely different from the adult plant we are used to, and tastes vastly different! Some time between the first 10-14 days, the plant peaks in its production of sulforaphane, sometimes up to 100x the concentration of the mature plant. Sulforaphane is nature’s most potent activator of antioxidants and has been shown to inhibit tumour growth.

This was originally published in the the Food Bulletin by CSAW, Centre for Affordable Wellness.

Contributed by Udaykumar Mathapati, Co-Founder and COO of LivFresh


Know More About Hydroponics

LivFresh has just recorded a podcast where we delve into some common questions about hydroponics and its produce. You can tune in to the audio file here, or through one of the podcast links below.

Hope you enjoy it!

This podcast was recorded in partnership with Ashok & Meera Vasudevan from the Centre for the Spread of Affordable Wellness.

Listen via iTunes Listen via Spotify Listen via browser

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponic farming is the process of growing plants and vegetables via a carefully calibrated mineral-rich water solution, whereby the plants continuously imbibe and process the nutrients made available to them. In this approach, growers can precisely control the nutrients needed by the plant at different stages of its growth. It also provides the ability to positively influence the availability of other vital inputs to the roots such as oxygen and beneficial microbes—micro-attention to plant health results in growth that is 30 – 50% faster. Additionally, there will be fewer cases of plant decay and wilting and the ability to avoid chemical means of parasite control.

As hydroponic farms are designed with high-precision control, they are predominantly housed in protected (climate controlled) environments allowing for year-round growing. This allows hydroponic farms to increase productivity by up to 100 times as compared to traditional farming.

There are however many variations of hydroponic growing – aquaponics, aeroponics, dryponics (to name a few) and different techniques within each of these. There is no simple answer to which of these is superior; that depends on the crop, location (climate) and other factors.

Plants make their vitamins, so vitamin levels tend to be similar whether a vegetable is grown hydroponically or in soil. It is the ability to enhance the mineral content (like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium) that sets hydroponic methods apart. Phyto-nutrients, on the other hand, are produced by the plants in reaction to the environment and stimulus that they are provided with. For example, tomatoes can be redder because of more lycopene, the magical antioxidant. Kale & spinach can have more chlorophyll and iron. The result is that vegetables grown hydroponically are often nutritionally superior to traditionally grown ones. The key to achieving this, however, is in the considered calibration and high-precision control in providing these inputs to the plants. And not all hydroponic growers get this right!

One must also consider how fresh the produce is may have more of an impact on its nutrient quality than how it was grown. Lettuce or tomatoes from a local hydroponic grower will be more nutritious than conventional or organic produce that has spent a week in transit, simply because less time has elapsed.

Finally, for some vegetables, the specific variety may have more of an impact on the flavour than whether it was grown in soil or a hydroponic medium. Good hydroponic farms spend much time and trials on getting this right.

Most of the parasites that inhibit plant health originate from soil (pests, fungi, weeds). With no soil, hydroponic growing reduces the incidence of harmful matter, allowing the plants to naturally combat these without assistance from toxic chemicals (pesticides, fungicides, and weedicides). Reduced parasites also will enable the plant maximum access to the nutrition meant for its consumption, thus forming a virtuous cycle of creating healthier, more resilient plant.

As hydroponic farms are designed with high-precision control, they are also predominantly housed in protected (climate controlled) environments providing for a pollutant and pathogen-free growing habitat. This results in inherently cleaner and more robust produce.

With up to 95% savings in water consumed, up to 90% savings in land footprint, and up to 70% savings in labour required, hydroponics is immensely resource friendly and makes it a viable option in urban areas, closer to consumers. This dramatically minimizes carbon-intensive ‘food miles’ that traditional farming incurs. A cleaner planet, greener cities and healthier people are the most significant factors driving hydroponics

Hydroponic companies, just like traditional farms, have the option to make organic and non-organic choices. While most use nutrients (like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) in ionic forms derived from chemical salts, there are emerging organic options available. Selection of growing media to support the plants is also an important consideration – there are many synthetic (foam, plugs) and natural (pear, coco-choir, rockwool) media that both work well.

But in general, they do not use synthetic fertilizers like urea, diammonium phosphate and several toxic pesticides and herbicides of conventional crops.

In other words, not all traditional farms are organic; not all hydroponic farms are organic. But they can be, based on the choices made by the grower.

Every living organism has an inherent natural potential as coded in its genetics. The goal of hydroponics (together with controlled environment farming) is to allow the plants to achieve this genetic potential to its fullest by providing them with the ideal conditions and inputs and by eliminating deterrents (parasites and environmental extremities). A well-cared-for, and the healthy plant is naturally more resilient and nourishing than one that must expend most of its energy to survive. Furthermore, the most critical natural process for plant growth, photosynthesis, remains the same.

The absence of soil in hydroponics is often seen as being unnatural. Soil is essentially an expensive foundation or growing media that supports a vast ecosystem that plants use. Soil can be easily replicated through other growing media without sacrificing the microbial environment the plant needs. Nutrients are presented to the plant-based on scientific study and delivered through high-precision control. However, the plant still decides to use what it needs to thrive and grow.

Hydroponic produce is often slightly dearer than traditional alternatives owing to the degree of technology and craft that goes into growing higher quality, nutritionally denser, and more flavourful food. However, they are significantly cheaper than most organic produce. With hydroponic farms that are closer to you, you would be paying lesser for transport and handling and the premium directly translates into a superior and cleaner product. With increase in scale and prevalence of hydroponic farms, the costs of enabling technology are also rapidly coming down.

Hydroponics is a form of precision agriculture that requires significantly higher capital and technical knowledge to set up and operate. While increased yields and improved quality compensate some of these higher costs, it still poses a high entry barrier to make it more prevalent.

Hydroponic farms are relatively more energy-hungry. Energy costs often limit the amount of control one can viably include in the setup. As more energy-efficient equipment and technology get introduced, greater ability to create optimal environments for plant growth will emerge.

Finally, commercial applications of hydroponics are limited to a few fruits and vegetables. While some success has been made in growing staple crops like rice and pulses, these almost entirely remain under the realm of traditional field cropping. Till more crops are grown commercially, hydroponics will co-exist with conventional farming in our quest to feeding the world.

Author : Karthik Rajan

Founder of LivFresh Farms, Singapore