Whether you're cooking or baking, you will need to make sure that you have the right types of equipment and know how to use it! From kitchen knives to ovens, these necessities are what will help you create the perfect dishes and recipes you and your family will enjoy. One of the basic kitchen tools you need would be a cheesecloth.
But many people overlook this handy tool and end up not knowing how to use it properly. So if you're wondering what it is and how to use a cheesecloth, then read on as I show you what you need to know about this kitchen tool!
What is a Cheesecloth?
This is a type of cloth which is loosely woven and resembles the texture and material of gauze. There are seven grades, which range from open to extra-fine weave. The type of class you choose is determined by how many threads per inch was in the cheesecloth when it was constructed.
Just like the name itself, cheesecloth is used for making cheese. But of course, there are other uses as well, which we will be getting to in the next section.
You can find cheesecloth anywhere around the world, available in grocery and fabric stores. They are widely known for kitchen use because of its versatility!
Uses of the Cheesecloth
Cheesecloth is a multi-purpose tool for the kitchen, yes, but why should a cook own one? Whether you're a big time chef or a mother who has the passion for whipping up dishes, here are the benefits and uses a cheesecloth can give you in the kitchen:
- Like what I mentioned, it's primarily used to make cheese through removing whey from the cheese curds, helping it stay together once you begin to form the cheese. Some of the cheeses one can make with the aid of a cheesecloth would be queso Blanco, queso fresco, paneer, and quark.
- Cheesecloths also make a great strainer, where you can strain stocks, custards, herbs, or even when making tofu, ghee, or thickening your yogurt.
- For those who make fruitcake, you can use the cheesecloth by wrapping it around and helping the fruits in the cake ripen.
That's why a cheesecloth is highly recommended for cooks who love to make cheese or use it for making their dairy products. It is also for those who need an efficient strainer for particular types of dishes.
How to Use a Cheesecloth
You know what's needed regarding the cheesecloth, but how can you use it? For this how-to, you won't need any fancy equipment that then your cheesecloth, ingredients, and what's in your kitchen. Here are the ways and steps to follow when doing so:
- Get your strainer and place the cheesecloth over it. This will provide support when you begin straining.
- Rinse the cloth with cold water to remove dirt or lint.
- Unfold and unroll the cheesecloth to cover the strainer, overlapping the edges by around three inches to avoid any of your ingredients from spilling.
- Pour the contents of your pot or pan into the cheesecloth and strainer, ensuring that nothing is spilling or dripping over the pan while you do so. Don't pour it all at once and do it slowly, ladling in the liquids or pouring it in a steady stream. Before doing this, I would recommend you to remove the larger pieces (if there are any) of your mixture before pouring to make it quicker and easier.
- If you are making cheese, then you may need to press down any remaining curds that stay on the cheesecloth. Use a spatula or spoon to press down and remove any of the remaining liquids that stick to the solid parts of your mixture.
Here are more tips and tricks you might want to make use of when using your cheesecloth:
1. There are times that your cheesecloth would pull or fall off the strainer despite being careful. Make sure to clip the cloth to your strainer with clean pins or a rubber band.
2. In case the cheesecloth is clogged with thick sludge, and it's difficult to let the liquids out, then pour the remaining mixture back in the pot and rinse the cheesecloth with running water. You can also replace it with another fresh cheesecloth and resume pouring your mixture.
3. If you are making jelly or broth and want to ensure maximum clarity, then let the liquid drain by itself. This may take a bit of time and may need to be hung up for a few hours to drain thoroughly. But, you are assured clear and smooth liquid.
4. If you want to extract it with maximum force for your cheese or milk recipes, then press on the solids firmly like mentioned, or gather the cheesecloth, compressing the solid parts.
5. If you happen to use a cheesecloth for many types of recipes, such as cheese, milk, coffee, jelly, or broth, I recommend you to purchase multiple cheesecloths to make it easier for you to strain a lot of liquids. It also prevents further staining or damage from your other cheesecloths.
Tips on Cleaning and Maintaining Your Cheesecloth
Now that you know how to use a cheesecloth, what are ways you can make sure that this kitchen tool stays clean and usable for an extended period? Here are some tips to follow when maintaining your cheesecloth to avoid it from contaminating your food or breaking apart too soon:
- Make sure that you wash your cheesecloth after using it. Rinse it immediately and wash it in the machine or by hand. Don't use detergent and fabric softeners, opting for milk products. I recommend you to wash your cheesecloth to ensure that you remove all forms of curds.
- If your cheesecloth still has curd stuck to it, use lemon juice, whey or white vinegar to remove it. To sterilize it better, boil it for five minutes before letting it dry.• Once you have thoroughly washed and dried your cheesecloth, fold it properly and store it in a zipper-style plastic bag and inside a secure cupboard until you use it again.
- If you find any stains on your cheesecloth that you can't remove, or you smell something off no matter how many times you wash it, then it needs to be thrown away.
If you're looking for the best kitchen tools to invest in to build your kitchen, then you must get a cheesecloth. This multi-purpose tool is convenient and easy to use, making it easy to whip up your dishes without the hassle. As long as you know how to use a cheesecloth and maintain it well, then you can enjoy the benefits it has to offer for your kitchen and dishes!
I hope that this article on how to use a cheesecloth helps you become more knowledgeable about what to do when it comes to utilizing this handy tool. So what are you waiting for? Do you have a recipe that requires you to use a cheesecloth? Don't worry about it and follow these tips on how to use one today!
If you have any questions or would like to share your tips and experiences when using a cheesecloth, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to think.