It’s funny to think that merely 2 years ago, I didn’t even know what cheesecloth was, let alone have a need for it.
However, now that my kitchen has been transformed into a real food workshop, I find myself needing all sorts of “weird” items.
Cheesecloth has many uses. Most commonly it’s used in various forms of cheesemaking (duh), but it also works great as a strainer for broth, jellies, or soft cheeses like yogurt or kefir cheese.
If you walk into your run-of-the-mill store asking for cheesecloth, the clerk will scratch his head and then most likely send you to the hardware department where they will point you to a poor, gauze-like, excuse for the stuff. Don’t be tempted, it doesn’t work! The “fabric” is flimsy and the holes are too big. It’s not really designed for kitchen use.
The other option is to find a high-end kitchen supply store, as they sometimes carry it. (But not Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Been there, done that…)
OR, my solution to this problem?
Go grab a package of diapers.
Wait a second. Crinkly, disposable diapers are probably the first thing that came to your mind, right?
Nope, not those ones. I’m talking the old-fashioned, cloth kind.
You know, the cheapie ones that create a big, leaky mess if you use them on your baby? Well, they make horrible diapers, but perfect cheesecloth!
Really, all they are is a big ol’ linen-style napkin. They aren’t fuzzy, so you don’t have to worry about fabric bits ending up in your cheese.
But, if you do decide to go this route, make sure you buy a package specifically for kitchen use and mark them with a Sharpie.
Lemme say that one more time: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use these interchangeably on your baby and cheese.
Thankfully, I use the high-tech version of cloth dipes on Prairie Baby (look for a future post on that, by the way!), so I don’t have to worry about any confusion.
I’ve used this technique for all sorts of cheese projects, and it’s worked great. Maybe someday I’ll get around to ordering some real, official cheesecloth from Cultures for Health, but for now, I’m happy with my diapers!
Fresh out of diapers? Try these alternatives instead!
- Muslin fabric
- A clean pillowcase
- A clean sheet
- A tea towel
Do you ever use cheesecloth in your kitchen? Do you use the ‘real’ stuff, or a creative alternative?
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