From DeLaurenti Food & Wine
Fill a large pot with 1 gallon of water per 3 pounds of curd (or proportional amount). Error on the side of excess. It’s better to have too much water than too little. Salt water using approximately 1 cup of salt per 1 gallon of water – more or less to taste. Heat water over medium high.
Fill large 3-4” deep pan half way full with cool tap water. Set aside. Also set aside a small bowl measuring approximately 2-3” in depth and about 3-4” in diameter, cheese cloth cut into 6”x6” squares, twist ties and plastic baggies or plastic wrap in which burrata will be housed once they are formed. Large non-zipping sandwich bags or plastic wrap cut into 1x1-foot squares will work. Place baggies in open position so they are ready to place the finished cheese into.
In a large saute pan heat heavy whipping cream over medium heat. The amount of heavy cream needed will depend on how many and how large a burrata you wish to make. Generally, 1/2 cup of cream per 1/2 lb of curd yields one 8-9 oz burrata.
Stir cream and monitor temperature while making other preparations. Do not scald the cream. If the cream starts to roll to a boil, immediately turn down to a simmer. Intermittently stir the cream gently in a zig-zag fashion being sure to constantly scrape the bottom and edges of the pan to release those wonderful buttery flecks. You may use Italian Panna da Cucina in place of your own reduced heavy cream. Heavy cream should be reduced by approximately 1/3 of its volume. Once it has thickened and obtained an off-white buttery hue, remove from heat and transfer into a small bowl. Set aside.
Place curd onto clean cutting board and dice finely into 1/4” cubes. Dicing does not have to be neat but it must remain fine or the curd will not melt evenly. Curd should feel springy almost like a soft piece of rubber. Transfer cut curd into a large bowl and set aside. If making large amounts, consider working with no more than 2-3 pounds per batch.
When water reaches approximately 178º F, turn burner to low and maintain temperature throughout process. Appropriate water temperature will vary slightly depending on size of batch. If temperature is too hot, the curd will become too soft and gooey to form a shape; if it’s not hot enough, the curd will not melt enough to smoothly shape.
Place a handful of diced curd in a separate bowl. Use a large pitcher or measuring cup to scoop heated water out of pot and pour over curd in bowl until submerged. This curd is just for incorporating into the reduced cream, about 1/2 cup per cup of reduced cream; it’s there to give the creamy interior or the burrata a bit more body.
After a minute or two dump the water and curd through a colander and submerge the curd in a second bath until it fully melts and easily forms into one smooth shape. Remove the curd from water and quickly shred or chop into tiny bits adding them to the cooled reduced cream. Stir and set aside.
In same bowl (now empty) place an amount of curd that comfortably fits between cupped hands (about the size of a baseball). Unlike mozzarella, burrata is a little more time consuming so it’s advisable to only work with a single portion at a time.
Cover curd with hot water and briefly stir making sure that cubes are not bound together thus allowing the water to evenly heat the curd. Allow curd to bathe for a few minutes until cubes give under pressure easily like soft putty. The softer pieces of curd should have begun to noticeably cling together.
Drain water from bowl and submerge curd in second bath of hot water. Gently run spatula over curd smoothing it out and working it into one mass. Curd should now be melted and extremely soft and smooth.
With hands (utensils can be used but superior control is gained by using hands) start to gather the mass of melted curd and begin pressing it together, turning it over on itself until the pieces have completely melted into one shiny smooth mass. The water is hot and may sting, but the end result is worth it. NOTE: Keep in mind to not overwork the curd or the finished product will lose its wonderful tender consistency.
Once the curd is ready, remove from water and immediately begin working it into shape. Cupping both hands and holding with palms facing up, begin working the curd by gently pressing the heel of your hand down over the top portion while pulling down and rotating it counterclockwise, creating a smooth surface. While pulling curd down, gently tuck and push up with other fingers almost as if shaping a mushroom cap. Once a smooth semisphere begins to take shape, flatten it into a pancake shape by holding it vertically between flattened hands and rotating inwards. Once flattened to about 1/8” (or as thin as possible) and 6-8” in diameter, place smooth side down over top of a small bowl draped with cheese cloth. Allow it to droop inward essentially forming an interior lining on the bowl with a little extra hanging over the sides. You may have to help it into place.
Stir cream mixture once more and carefully scoop or pour into the pouch. Gently and swiftly lift two opposite sides of the pouch together followed by the other two sides, creating pleats so all sides of pouch meet. Then twist and pinch it together.
Pull up the sides of the cheese cloth around to the top of the “beggar’s purse” and tie off with kitchen string. There should be enough at the sealed end to quickly lift the pouch and drop directly into the prepared baggies. Seal tightly with a twist tie. NOTE: If using squares of plastic wrap, you should line the bowl with the plastic before you place the cheese in thereby allowing you to seal the pouch and wrap in plastic in one step.
Place the sealed pouches in the pan of cool water and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
This cheese really should be enjoyed immediately while the interior is still warm and oozy though it can be refrigerated for up to three days. If using reduced cream, the interior of the cheese will firm up a little if refrigerated so place the cheese out at room temperature for an hour or so before serving.