Cheesecloth is a soft cotton fabric that is woven loosely. It is mainly used for making cheese, hence the name. Besides, cheesecloth is also used in myriad other recipes that require straining of milk products and holding the residue together. The loosely woven fabric drains out the liquid and holds the solid together. The large holes of the fabric allow the dairy product to breathe. Cheesecloth is not dyed unlike other fabrics, which makes it a neutral option for culinary uses.
Where Can You Buy Cheesecloth
Before you are all set to buy cheesecloth, it would certainly make sense to understand what are the various types of cheesecloth available out there.
Cheesecloth Fabric Types
As mentioned above cheesecloth fabric is made from undyed cotton. The threads are loosely woven so that the fabric appears porous. Its porosity is very useful in straining of foods. There are several grades and types of cheesecloth. The grade of the cheesecloth is mainly based upon the number of threads per inch. There are about five grades of cheesecloth, namely, #10, #40, #50, #60 and #90.
Grade #10: Grade #10 is characterized by 20 vertical and 12 horizontal threads per inch.
Grade #40: In grade #40, there are 24 vertical and 20 horizontal threads per inch.
Grade #50: In grade #50, there are 28 vertical and 24 horizontal threads per inch.
Grade #60: Grade #60 has 32 vertical and 28 horizontal threads every inch.
Grade #90: Grade #90 consists of 44 vertical and 36 horizontal threads per inch.
Thus, grade #10 offers maximum porosity whereas grade #90 is the thickest of all. The grade selection is mostly done on the basis of purpose of cheesecloth. Cheesecloth of higher grades is stronger and lasts longer. Cheesecloth fabric is also classified as lightweight cheesecloth and heavy weight cheesecloth.
Where to Buy Cheesecloth
Cheesecloth is mostly used for culinary purposes. Hence, it can be easily found in supermarkets or grocery stores. Look for cooking gadgets and kitchen supplies in the cooking section. Cheesecloth is mostly stocked around this stuff. You can also buy cheesecloth at fabric stores or stores that stock sewing stuff. Some bed linen stores may also stock cheesecloth of certain grades. You may not find the cheesecloth of required grade at a supermarket or grocery store. The cheesecloth that supermarkets sell is mostly soft and loosely woven. Thus, you might have to fold it in layers for achieving the desired thickness or size of holes. The maximum variety of cheesecloth can be found on the Internet, as you can order the cheesecloth of any grade as per your requirements. Go through the catalogs on various shopping websites and order the cheesecloth as per your requirements. One can also find cheesecloth at upmarket cuisine boutiques, albeit at a very high price.
Many a time your recipe demands use of cheesecloth, to which you may not have an easy access, in such cases cheesecloth substitutes can come in handy. There are many materials that work just as fine as cheesecloth for a myriad recipes. Muslin cloth is an ideal substitute for cheesecloth, due to their similar texture. You may use medical gauze for the same purpose. However, you may have to fold it in several layers for achieving a desired effect, as medical gauze is very loosely woven with large hole sizes. An old sock and a worn out linen also work great as cheesecloth alternatives, however make sure both are sufficiently clean to be used for cooking purpose. Similarly, a coffee filter (paper) can also be used as cheesecloth substitute as it offers same porosity. Any of these materials can be used depending upon the thickness of cloth demanded by your recipe.