Buying a cheesecloth
I was thinking of buying a cheesecloth, and I was wondering what to look for in a cheesecloth, and what type of store would have cheesecloth? I don't know how often I'm going be using the cheesecloth, so I don't want to spend too much.
I'm thinking of using the cloth as a strainer for washing my rice and steel cut oats. I was also thinking of trying to make my own butter, and using the cloth to separate the curds. Would the above be good enough reasons to buy a cheesecloth?
Sure, it's washable so reusable and inexpensive. If you have some, you'll find other reasons for using it, too. You can buy squares precut and packaged at many grocery stores but I go to a fabric store and buy it off the bolt. It's cheaper though you have to wash it well first.
I just use a wire mesh strainer for washing grains; I don't know if you really need cheesecloth for that. Btw, it's just very loosely woven cotton cloth for a variety of kitchen and home uses, cleaning, straining fruit for jams, yogurt, poaching fish or even pate, etc. Read on.
Hardware stores tend to have the best prices on cheesecloth, while kitchenware vendors are more pricy. A 2 yard square of muslin works very well, and is available at a fabric store, as is cheesecloth off the bolt, or muslin bags are available at home brew and wine making shops. Look for "ultra fine" and "unbleached" labels on the cheesecloth, expect to pay about $3-$6 for a 2 yard package, or 9 square feet, depending on the quality and vendor, for example:
Cheesecloth can be washed and reused, and is not terribly expensive. Every kitchen should have a package of cheesecloth for something.
You need cheesecloth to perform certain butter and cheesemaking steps, but muslin is fine for those techniques, and is more durable with a tighter weave than cheesecloth. This butter muslin is finer than basic cheesecloth:
You might need one of these for cheese curd draining, if you get serious about cheesemaking: