Cheesecloth is indispensable in the kitchen; it’ll drain house-made cheese or yoghurt, strain stock, hold a bouquet garni of fresh herbs, or steep hops in beer. If you don’t have a generous supply of good quality stuff, you need to get some.
If you’ve bought cheese cloth only from the grocery store or a craft supply place, you’ve likely never been exposed to good cheese cloth. That slack stuff is good for little; it’s far too loosely woven to do good duty straining, holding house made cheese, or draining yoghurt.
What you need is real cheese cloth!
The genuine article is woven from clean, in-dyed cotton thread. The weave is relatively light, of course, as it must be to do what it does best. These basics are where the similarities between the crappy stuff one usually finds and the real meal deal end.
Cheesecloth is graded by weight, determined by the thread count and weight. The are five common grades, from #10, which is what you usually find, through grades 40, 50, 60, and 90. The bottom line is that #90 cloth has more than double the vertical and three times the horizontal threads per inch that #10 cloth does; a whole different animal completely. While the crappy stuff is gonzo after one use when it does little well, #90 cloth is robust, reusable, very pleasant to work with and does a fantastic job with everything from stock to cheese.
Finding the real deal at decent cost and as notable options for quantity can be a bit of a chore, so let me spare you the mundane.
The eBay seller Ladygal0_3 sells multiple grades, will cut them to size for you, and often offers very useful quantities a with free shipping. Their prices are excellent, the service top notch and the shipping is fast.
So go get you some!
2 thoughts on “Hey, Cheese Cloth, Here!”
Hi – just found out we’re sort of relatives, once removed, step or something! Anyway, question for you. I love my cheesecloth for straining stock, but have a terrible time getting the oil out afterwords. Washing in the washing machine on hot doesn’t do it. Pouring boiling water over them with dish soap and/or dishwasher soap doesn’t do it. They tend to smell rancid when I pull them back out of the drawer a few weeks later. I’d love your advice.
– married to Thane, who is David Atwater’s stepson and living in B’ham 🙂
Well, Cousin, we are indeed! How cool is that? Plan on getting together soon for a meal and a catch up, K?
Alright, two things for your problem;
First and foremost, make sure you’re letting your stock rest and carefully skimming the excess fat from the top after it’s cooled, which I’m sure you are.
Secondly, if this is a recurrent issue, you probably want to either go with sacrificial, cheap low weight cloth folded as much as you can get away with, or check out bags designed for draining cheese and yoghurt, which are often constructed of nylon cloth in a super fine weave. Those will absorb almost nothing and can take cleaning much better than cotton. They come in various sizes and are relatively cheap; I took a quick look at Amazon and found them for around $10 or so.
Thanks for asking and we look forward to meeting y’all!