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cheese cloth

angelo04 Dec 26, 2007 11:07 AM

Is it reusable and if so how do you clean it? Thanks in advance

  1. jnstarla Dec 28, 2007 12:39 PM

    I usually just use a flour-sack kitchen towel for fine straining, and then bleach it. The only cheesecloth I've been able to find here is the very loosely woven stuff, and it just doesn't seem worth it when to use so many layers.

    1. l
      Lisbet Dec 27, 2007 04:43 AM

      I went to the fabric counter in a fabric store, bought a length (3/4 yard, or so) of unbleached loose weave muslin. It doesn't cost very much. I cut off a piece and use it over and over several times, washing and bleaching it after each use. When that piece gets too unsightly or worn from use I throw it away and cut off another piece from the reserve (that I keep handy in a kitchen drawer) ready for the next job.

      I use unbleached muslin for straining soups/broths and I use it during jelly making time. Much cheaper and more useful than cheese cloth!

      8 Replies
      1. re: Lisbet
        danhole Dec 27, 2007 06:58 AM

        Thanks for sharing that. I had wondered if it would be okay to use muslin, and now I know!

        1. re: Lisbet
          Will Owen Dec 27, 2007 09:33 AM

          Wow, muslin...! I think I like that even better than old polo shirts, for some things anyway. The notion I just got was to make muslin cone filters to use in conjunction with a chinois. I have a fine-mesh chinois (or "china cap" as it's also called) that works nicely but is an utter b**** to clean. And paper filters are just too slow and clog up too fast. Thank you very much for the suggestion!

          1. re: Will Owen
            MakingSense Dec 27, 2007 07:35 PM

            Everybody used to use sewn muslin bags for French drip coffee pots before they invented paper filters. Coffee has never tasted right since.
            I loathe cleaning the mesh chinois. Probably the hardest thing to clean that I own. Maybe a muslin bag would work! Good idea.

            1. re: MakingSense
              Will Owen Dec 29, 2007 03:40 PM

              I was thinking more along the lines of a cloth version of the Chemex folded paper filters, the old circular ones. I'd just measure the depth of my chinois and use that as the defining radius, and cut circles that size from the muslin. I'd wind up with over half the resulting cone being three layers thick, but that's not a problem. Lots easier than sewing them. Easier to wash, too.

            2. re: Will Owen
              toodie jane Dec 30, 2007 08:54 AM

              For its purpose--lining cheese molds for easy removal--cheesecloth works fine. But if using it for straining, it is meant to be doubled or quadrupled. I just hate dealing with the unfolding and layering of it, so I use a well-worn floursack dishtowel instead. Nice and large.

              Mom's chinois ( c.1940's) came with a substantial muslin bag (and a beautiful bird's-eye beater to squoosh the fruit pulp) . She used the muslin cone to strain blackberries for jelly, so it was always purple.

            3. re: Lisbet
              geminigirl Dec 27, 2007 03:39 PM

              I also use muslin to make a homemade grape leather (aka fruit roll-ups) I think it's supposed to be dried on cheesecloth, but muslin was always easier to put my hands on...

              also wondering, would a coffee filter do the job, or too many chemicals involved?

              1. re: geminigirl
                ctflowers Dec 27, 2007 06:25 PM

                I'm making homemade raspberry liqueur, and was looking for cheesecloth to strain out the berries & seeds. I tried just using a coffee filter, and you simply can't squeeze it out without the paper filter tearing or bursting.

                1. re: ctflowers
                  WildSwede Dec 28, 2007 11:54 AM

                  I have used cheesecloth but am always nervous about those "strings" hanging off (which of course I pull off). However, I just found cheesecloth baggies (kind of like the kind you make sachets out of but for cooking) at the Linens N Things (Bed Bath & Beyond). I love it! So easy, place items inside, pull drawstring closed, tie and voila! They can be washed and reused. No more strings to worry about!

            4. Leucadian Dec 26, 2007 06:57 PM

              Sure you can re-use it, but don't expect the stains to come out. I wash it by hand and let it air dry. One of the things I like about the loose weave is that you can modify the grating size if you will, by using multiple layers.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Leucadian
                violabratsche Dec 26, 2007 07:10 PM

                I think I'd want to separate the cloth that was used for items with oil, from the cloth that was used for items without oil. And it's not as if it's that expensive, anyway.


              2. v
                violabratsche Dec 26, 2007 01:14 PM

                Will, what a good idea! I'll look into what I haven't tossed....
                ctflowers, you can also find cheesecloth at the hardware store, although it IS a very loose weave and you'd have to use several layers for almost any straining. I've found some at the local dollar store, too.


                1 Reply
                1. re: violabratsche
                  Toadberry Dec 26, 2007 03:32 PM

                  I think you should be able to buy it in most regular grocery stores.

                2. Will Owen Dec 26, 2007 12:58 PM

                  Though I make an awful lot of stock and broth I hardly buy cheesecloth anymore, just because that super-loose-weave stuff is about all I can find these days. What I do have is an abundant supply of worn-out white cotton mesh-knit polo shirts, which I have cut into pieces of suitable size to fit my wire strainers in either one or two layers. I found that if I just rinsed and then laundered them they came out smelling kinda rancid, but if I wash them in dish detergent right after use they come out quite clean and fresh. They also catch a lot of finer particles that cheesecloth won't...plus the price is right!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Will Owen
                    speyerer Dec 26, 2007 03:22 PM

                    "I do have is an abundant supply of worn-out white cotton mesh-knit polo shirts"

                    I actually have a recipe from my dear mother in which she instructs me to "wash the tee shirt before you use it". I have always followed her advice with good results.

                    1. re: Will Owen
                      omnidora Oct 23, 2009 06:34 PM

                      Brilliant, Will. I realize it is almost two years later, but your advice is right on time. I have tons of old 100% cotton white t shirt things that I hate to throw out - but they're not pristine enough to wear. I had not thought about using them in place of cheese cloth. And some have the right kind of weave. The only thing I will add is to maybe boil the piece of cloth I intend to use, to get rid of any detergent or whatever. Thanks.

                    2. c
                      ctflowers Dec 26, 2007 12:42 PM

                      Speaking of cheesecloth, where do you buy it? I'm making homemade liqueur & need it for straining the berries. We don't have any "cooking" stores in my area, and I don't want to have to buy just cheesecloth off the internet. Would a craft store such as Michael's or Joann's have it?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: ctflowers
                        Kelli2006 Dec 26, 2007 12:47 PM

                        Most craft stores(Jo-Ann fabrics or Pat Catans) have cheese cloth, as does any place that sells fabric by the yard.

                        1. re: Kelli2006
                          danhole Dec 26, 2007 01:11 PM

                          I get mine at Jo Ann's.

                        2. re: ctflowers
                          swf36d Dec 27, 2007 02:45 PM

                          I purchased cheescloth at K-mart, Walmart and the grocery store. they usually have it near the foil pans.

                        3. danhole Dec 26, 2007 11:35 AM

                          I would think that the thread count would either make it disposable or reusable. The higher the thread/weave the more likely you can reuse, and I would just wash it gently in the machine, like a cloth napkin. I use some pretty cheap cheesecloth, with a low thread count (loose weave), and just toss it.

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