05 October 2008

cow v. buffalo: a dispatch from the field

While traveling in DC it turns out that Cheese Whiz has been working on handmade, slow rise pizza crusts. He suggested we make the pizza with said crusts. I suggested we work Fromage in and do a taste test of cow mozzarella against buffalo mozzarella just to see if neophytes can taste the difference. So off we went to the massively yuppie and overpriced "Dean and Deluca" to find buffalo mozzarella. We got seven ounces of "freshly imported all natural" Bufala mozzarella, made from the water buffalo for $12. We also got eight ounces of "Dean and Deluca" cow mozzarella for $5. Interestingly, although about the same weight, there was much more of the cow mozzarella, almost two to one. Already there's a significant difference in density (four to one in cost!).
In terms of the raw product, the buffalo was clearly superior both in taste and smell. The cow mozzarella was almost tasteless, while the buffalo was sharper, cleaner, and full of flavor. When I laid it on the pizza there was also a distinct texture difference. The cow was rather stringy while the buffalo was sort of mushy. Purposely we made the pizza simply: just tomato sauce and cheese.
We laid it on the stone at 500 degrees and waited a few minutes. When the pizza arrived, there was also a clear difference between the cheeses. The cow was much brighter white in the end. The real question though: after baking is the buffalo as delicious? Sadly, no. The buffalo was certainly better tasting: richer, fuller, and with more depth. But neither of us thought that the cost difference outweighed the taste difference.
In short, the difference between the raw and cooked cheeses did not outweigh the cost difference. However, we certainly think that a delicious sandwich / caprese salad could benefit greatly from fresh buffalo mozzarella.
Viva la Fromage!


  1. A simple comparison that is certainly not out there in the 'literature'. It is good to know that it may not be worth using the Buffalo on a pizza. I can't think of when I've have Buff. Mozz. at all, really-- and so I will have to now try it, perhaps Caprese-style with some fresh New England heirloom tomatoes. In any event, fantastic post. FDM has now been revived and Goudacris is back in full style.

  2. like ricky, i am hard-pressed to think of a time in my fromage history when i have knowingly sampled the old BuffMozz. as such, i'm grateful for goudacris's vivid descriptions - i could almost taste the tasteleseness of CowMozz and swore i felt a bit of BuffMozz's "mushy".

    on the fromage-does-pizza tip, it would seem, then, that any-mozz-will-do is a fair rule of thumb for baking (though i shall definitely consider BuffMozz for my next caprese). i recently attended a modest pizza-making fete, and it was CowMozz as far as the eye could see. taking a page from my favorite brooklyn pizzeria's cookbook, my team created a "pie" with a killer fromage pairing: standard CowMozz plus a few dollops of creamy ricotta. mmmmmmmm. my pizza compatriots were initially skeptical, but seemed to quite enjoy the result.

    in closing, i'm quite enjoying these comparison-type fdm postings a la "cow v. buff" and the unforgettable cheddar wars of yesteryear. in my opinion, comparing 2+ fromages (or 2+ types of the same fromage) adds a level of complexity and (dare i say) whimsy to the more generic, single-cheese taste-and-post.
    how do others feel?