Cheesecloth is commonly mentioned on cooking websites as a tool for preparing various types of foods. It is also occasionally referred to on craft websites. Sometimes it is called muslin, which is very slightly different, but in most cases the two terms are interchangeable.
This cloth is similar to a type of gauze in texture. It is crafted in different grades depending on what it is being used for. Some cheesecloth has a very loose weave, while other types offer a very fine weave. And there are various weave consistencies between the two extremes. Is it food, is it a craft tool? What exactly is it?
Cheese or Cloth?
Cheesecloth is a product that is used to assist in making cheese. In the cheese-making process, the cloth is used to allow the whey to drip away from the cheese curds. It can be used when creating different types of cheese, from a very solid and more traditional varieties, to more liquid-based products like cottage cheese. Cheese cloth is also frequently used to thicken yogurt. It allows excess moisture to drift away from nutrients, helping create a healthier product.
Are There Any Other Cheesecloth Applications?
Cheesecloth can also be used when making broth. You drape the cloth over a clean pot so it can strain excess solids from the liquid you are using. It can also be used to strain cold brewed coffee, acting as a healthy filter. Simply pour the mixture over a container with cheesecloth secured on the top to separate the coffee grounds.
If you want to use herbs and spices for flavor, but want to keep them contained and out of the final product, you can use cheesecloth to make a sachet. This allows the flavour to seep in, but keeps the physical herbs contained so you can easily remove theme from your food or drink.
Although commonly used to strain substances in cooking, cheesecloth has many other uses as well. One of the less commonly thought of uses for the cloth is to wrap young trees during times when insects such as cicadas are prevalent.
This is because some insects can cause great damage to young trees in a very short period of time. Using the cloth to wrap the tree offers protection from insects while still allowing the tree to breathe and absorb the essential water it needs to grow.
Printing is another one of the versatile ways cheesecloth can be used. It is commonly employed to help wipe up extra ink, and can be used to clean up any extra gum arabic when painting. Cheesecloth is excellent for creating special effects and illusions, as well as offering several crafting applications as well.
If you are having a picnic, cheesecloth is an excellent way to help cover food and protect it from insects. It is commonly used to cover freshly baked rolls to help retain the heat when serving them. When using cheesecloth for food-related tasks, always make sure you wash and dry it thoroughly in hot soapy water first.
However, you should allow it to air dry naturally, so that you do not transfer chemicals to the food. You may also find that if you use it to strain fatty liquids or make strongly flavoured items, it may not be reusable for other purposes, even after several washings.
Where to Find Cheesecloth
Cheesecloth can sometimes be found in the sewing department of big box stores or specialty sewing stores. But selection can be limited, since there are so many different sizes and types available. Purchasing the perfect cheesecloth for your next crafting or cooking project is a snap online, where there are unlimited variations of this versatile product available.