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All About Water Buffalo Cheese


If you’ve gone your whole life thinking that buffalo wings are made from actual buffalo meat, let this be a learning experience for you. The wings are named after the city of Buffalo where the recipe was first invented, but in the end, they just contain plain dark meat chicken. Buffalo cheese, however, is made from actual buffalo milk, and has nothing to do with upstate New York.

Water buffalo milk is thick and creamy, with twice the fat of cow’s milk. (It also contains more calcium and less cholesterol, so don’t swear it off for nutritional reasons). It is most often used in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, where it is used to make a variety of dairy by-products, like ghee and paneer. 

In western cultures, water buffalo milk is most often used to make Buffalo Mozzarella. Serious Eats touts buffalo milk mozzarella as being richer and fresher than the cow’s milk variety– since the milk spoils within 24-48 hours, it has to be flown in fresh from Italy each day. Jamie Forrest writes:

There’s really no comparison in my mind between mozzarella made from water buffalo milk and that made from cow’s milk. The former is supple, sweet, and intensely creamy, while the latter can often be more elastic and tangy. Mozzarella di bufala also makes for the best pizza, melting into a luscious puddle that is the ultimate foil for a perfectly crispy crust.

Water buffalo milk can also be used to make extra rich blue cheeses. Blu di Bufala is a decadent whole milk blue cheese aged three months with a balanced tangy and creamy flavor. The Kitchn’s resident cheesemonger blogger describes it as “smooth and luscious, even fluffy.” A cheese that leaves other blues in the dust.

Here at culture, we’re hoping for a water buffalo dairy farm renaissance in America. What about you?

Photo: Serious Eats

Amanda Minoff

Amanda recently graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a degree in English Literature and Art History. She is a reader and writer of fiction and loves cheese that tells a good story.