To a cheese maker, the best cheese cloth is one item you simply cannot ignore. It is an integral tool that is necessary for the cheese making process as you are probably already aware. Some people also be use it for straining yogurt to make it thicker.
Properly pasteurized yogurt milk should not undergo syneresis because the serum proteins are fully denatured to bind more water. If you strain whey off yogurt to make it thicker, sell the product at premium prices to cover the lost whey.
The gauzy cloth comes in different microns and is usually made of cotton fiber. Grades vary from open (grade 10) to very fine textured cheese cloths classified under grade 90. The different grades determine the quantity of solids the cloth can retain during straining.
It allows water and very fine particles to pass through while retaining solid particles (curd in this case). The holes also allow free circulation of air around the aging cheese.
This is the traditional method used for making cheese. English cheddar cheese is a popular example of cheeses that use the cheese cloth in cheese making.
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Characteristics of the best cheese cloth
The best cheese cloth should have the following features:
- Made of 100% cotton to avoid scratching surfaces when cleaning.
- Contains no impurities e.g. chemical binders.
- Absorbent capacity to facilitate easy application of substances like gum arabic to an offset plate.
General uses of the best cheese cloth
- Dusting and wiping surfaces
- Straining whey off cheese
- Paint straining
- Craft making and graphic arts
- Polishing and stain removal.
Other uses of a cheese cloth other than making cheese
Check out the homesteader's video below to see how to use the cheese cloth to strain whey off the curd.
Video by Homesteading
The alternative uses of a cheese cloth include the following:
1. Straining stocks in different recipes
You can use cheese cloth for straining water in other recipes like almond milk, fresh fruit drinks, infused oils, and even ketchup. Just spread the cheese cloth over a straining bowl and pour the stock on the cloth.
2. Texturing curd
if you want to add some fanfare to the curd, just cut the curd into small pieces refrigerate for a few minutes to firm them up. Wrap the pieces in small pieces of cheese cloths and twist the ends to impress the shape of the cloth onto the curd.
3. Dusting sugar on cookies during baking
Tie a piece of cheese cloth on the mouth of sugar jar and shake the jar over the cookies for even spreading of the ingredient.
4. Keeping food moist during oven cooking
Cover the food (chicken) with a cheese cloth drenched in butter before putting it in the oven.
5. Making summer outfits
Due to its light texture, you can use the cheese cloth to make a light and comfortable summer wear.
6. Testing fail-safe capacity of potential fire hazards and durability of optical coatings
The cheese cloth is wrapped on the devices, which are then simulated under hazardous conditions like electrical power surges. The cloth should not catch fire for a fail safe device.
Alternatives to cheese cloth
Many people complain that the cheese cloth is not very durable. Some even say that they dispose their pieces after just one use. This makes it very expensive.
The following are some of the alternatives to cheese cloth that have produced satisfactory results.
1. Muslin cloth
This is one of the most popular alternatives to a cheese cloth. The muslin cloth is strong, durable, and cheap. It can be re-used several times.
Since you can buy the muslin cloth by the yard, you can determine the size you want rather than being forced to buy predetermined sizes. It is easy to handle and you can tear it along the thread-line to obtain the size you require for your needs.
2. Cotton fabric
Choose a light (preferably) plain colored cotton fabric to use for straining. It is advisable to use the chosen fabric for straining only since some of the stocks you will be straining may cause permanent staining.
3. Fine meshed bag
Think of a laundry bag or paint strainer bag. These are excellent alternatives to a cheese cloth and get the work done pretty well. They are easier to use, clean, and last relatively longer than a regular cheese cloth.
4. Flour sack towels
These light cotton towels are used in the kitchen as an absorbent for drying the utensils. They have a finer mesh than the regular cheese cloth but are lighter than the normal kitchen towels.
They have excellent straining capacity and can replace the cheese cloth in the kitchen. Since they have a finer mesh, the straining will take a little bit longer.
This is another off-the-books alternative to a cheese cloth, which is not only cheaper but also very easy to use. Choose a large handkerchief and make sure you dedicate it to straining purposes.
6. Beverage filter
Coffee filters are strongly woven and they have a fine mesh to keep coffee debris out of your drink. If you have a reusable filter, that would be a perfect strainer alternative to muslin cloth.
These are just some of the most common options to a cheese cloth. You can improvise other options as well.