Have you ever tried making your own cheese? If you’re among the planet’s millions of cheese lovers, you should definitely try it. The taste that you can achieve when making your own cheese is impeccable—so good that you will never want store-bought cheese again.
A cheesecloth is a loose-woven gauze cloth that helps you remove whey from cheese curds. It also helps to hold them together as the cheese is formed. It is a crucial part of cheese-making and also has more uses than just that. It’s all up to the creativity of the cook!
Picking the right cheesecloth is no easy task. You may be wondering, ‘which is the best one?’ The answer depends on what kind of cheese you want to be making, but also on the other uses you want to get out of your cheesecloth. It’s a versatile tool that can be used in all kinds of food-prep related tasks.
We know that not everyone even owns a cheesecloth, and buying the first one can be pretty intimidating. If you want to learn about all the uses a cheesecloth provides, read about the different features you should be on the lookout for, and finally read about the top 8 cheesecloths on the market, read on below!
Cheesecloths Buying Guide
Have you ever owned a cheesecloth? We know that for many people, the answer will be no. The truth is that not many of us love cooking enough to venture into the art of cheesemaking, especially when decent cheese is available in most stores.
In today’s modern world where we’re all busy and, let’s be honest, often exhausted, making things from scratch is not as common as it was just twenty years ago. We all live our lives rushing from home to work and then back again, and cooking may often be the last thing on our minds. Sometimes, the only thing we can do after a long day is to pick up some takeout and sit back on our sofas.
If this is you, don’t feel bad. We’ve all been there. However, we also firmly believe that we all deserve to experience the good things in life, no matter how busy we are—and one of those things will always be home-cooked food.
Making dinner from scratch is satisfying enough, sure. But have you ever tried homemade cheese or butter? That’s not all that a cheesecloth can help you make, and trust us when we say that all of the things you might want to use it for really DO taste better when you make them yourself, at home.
You won’t know how good it is until you try it. Set aside an afternoon and try out all the different things a cheesecloth can help you make. Not only is the entire process enjoyable, but the end result is simply amazing.
In our buying guide, we will cover all the various uses a cheesecloth has, the types of cheesecloth you may come across, and finally, the 8 best cheesecloths on the market. Let’s begin!
What Is Cheesecloth and What Can You Do With It?
As mentioned above, a cheesecloth is a cotton cloth. It is loosely woven and closely resembles gauze. Cheesecloth comes in seven grades, starting from open to extra-fine weave. As you may have guessed, the grade is determined by the number of threads per inch in each direction.
While in many situations cheesecloth has a similar use to a strainer, we can’t truthfully say that you can replace one with a good colander. It’s like comparing a strawberry to a raspberry. Similar, but then again…not quite.
Each and every time you add a layer of gauzy fabric, the overlapping cloth strains out finer particles. It can also be gathered into a pouch. This allows you to hang it for hours to drain or to squeeze it to extract all the liquid you possibly can.
In some cases, nothing will get the job done quite as well as cheesecloth will. One of the main benefits of cheesecloth is the fact that, unlike a strainer, it is very adjustable.
Now that you know what cheesecloth really is, let’s talk about what it can do for you.
The Many Uses of Cheesecloth
As the name suggests, the primary and most-known use of cheesecloth is exactly that: making cheese. The main function you will hear about when researching cheesecloth is straining dairy products.
Cheesecloth separates curds from whey when you make cheese or cottage cheese. This is a crucial step in the creation of cheese and it cannot be skipped, so its importance cannot be overstated. However, cheese is not the only thing cheesecloth can help you with.
You may also use it to remove excess whey from yogurt. This will leave it thick and delicious, resulting in a Greek-style yogurt. You can also use it to strain kefir grains from kefir. It’s much better at both those tasks than a metal strainer would be as the metal can impair taste and vitality.
One of the less-known uses of cheesecloth is making your favorite brew. You guessed it, coffee! Layered cheesecloth will remove fine grounds from cold-brewed coffee. It will also smooth out your fruit jelly or soup stock in a natural, yet efficient way.
Cheesecloth, in general, is a great tool for capturing solids and straining water in all sorts of recipes.
Aside from the above, you can also use it for things such as:
- almond milk
- infused oils
- fresh fruit drinks
The above list is not exhaustive. The longer you own a cheesecloth, the more you will realize that it will come in handy in many situations where you’d previously have to resort to using a less-than-ideal colander.
What Types of Cheese Can You Make With Cheesecloth?
Cheesecloth is most commonly associated with cottage cheeses. Some of the most popular cheeses that you can make using your new cheesecloth are:
- Goat cheese
- Cottage cheese
Unusual Uses for Cheesecloth
Did you know that cheesecloth comes in handy for things other than cooking? While not directly related to this guide, let’s take a look at the many uses cheesecloth can provide.
- It can be used for several processes related to printmaking, such as lithography for wiping up gum arabic. A heavily starched cheesecloth called tarlatan is used in intaglio. The purpose of it is wiping away excess ink from the printing surface.
- Cheesecloth made to United States Federal Standard is often used in testing the durability of optical coatings.
- Grade #60 cheesecloth is helpful in product safety and regulatory testing for potential fire hazards.
- In India and Pakistan, cheesecloth is used for making summer shirts.
- It is also used in laboratories.
How to Use Cheesecloth
The exact technique will depend on what you’re using it for, but the main technique remains the same for nearly all recipes.
The main thing to remember is that cheesecloth is soft and flexible, so it will require support and will not completely replace a strainer in that regard. What we recommend you do is give the cheesecloth some support by using it with a mesh strainer, funnel, or colander.
Start by rinsing the cloth under cold water. This will remove any remaining lint. Next, unfold it and generously cover the strainer. You should aim to have at least 3 inches of excess cheesecloth hanging over the sides. The reason for that is that, otherwise, the liquid will spill over when you pour it in.
Once you start pouring in your liquids of choice, do not do it hastily. Go slow. You can ladle in the liquids or pour them in a steady stream. If needed, pause and remove bigger pieces from the colander.
What to Look for in Cheesecloth
While cheesecloths, in general, are usually the same or very similar to one another, the thing you need to consider is the grade. Different cheesecloths will have different grades, which in turn will give them different uses.
Here are the different grades of cheesecloth:
|Vertical × horizontal threads per inch
|Vertical x horizontal threads/cm
|20 × 12
|8 x 5
|24 × 20
|9.5 x 8
|28 × 24
|11 x 9.5
|32 × 28
|12.5 x 11
|44 × 36
|17.5 x 14
Depending on what you’re making, you may want to pick up more than one type of cheesecloth. This will give your kitchen an edge and ensure that you never have to strain through the wrong type of cloth.
For cheesemaking, we recommend tightly-woven or ultra-fine cheesecloth. Loosely-woven cheesecloth will not catch all of the solids when you attempt to drain the whey from the cheese curds. However, if you only have a loosely woven cloth on hand, you can triple fold it to create a tight hold.
8 Best Cheesecloths
We hope that our buying guide cleared up any confusion as to what cheesecloths are and how they can improve your cooking experience. However, even when you know what to look for, it’s still difficult just to find the right type of product.
We’ve done our research and we were able to pick out 8 of the most outstanding cheesecloths on the market. Don’t waste your precious time researching. Take advantage of our top 8 list of cheesecloths.
1. SCENG Reusable, 100% Unbleached Cotton Fabric Cheesecloth
Grade 90 cheesecloth is much better and more durable than some of the lower grades that you can find on the market. If you’re looking for something durable that will provide a vast array of uses, you don’t have to look any further. Pick up this SCENG cheesecloth.
- 100% unbleached cotton
- Lint-free and top-quality
- Many household uses
One of the best things about this cheesecloth is the fact that it is unbleached. When you use unbleached cheesecloth, you can be sure that it will keep you and your family safe from dangerous contaminants commonly associated with bleach. There will be no leftover chlorine leaking out onto your skin or worse yet, into your food.
Only pure cotton was used in the making of this cheesecloth. You will never run into recycled fibers or have to deal with annoying lint. You can use it with total confidence and not worry about food safety at all.
It has many different household uses, ranging from spice bags, canning, cheese, yogurt, wine, roasting turkey or chicken, kombucha scoby as well as surface polishing, cleaning, dusting and so much more.
- Incredibly versatile
- Very durable
- It may take some time to drain
2. Pure Acres Farm Cheesecloth, Fine Weave: Grade 90
The second grade 90 cheesecloth on our list, this one will provide an incredibly fine-weave – which is exactly what you want when you purchase a cheesecloth. This one will do the job of many others in just a single layer.
- Only pure cotton
- Free DIY guide included
- Very durable
Like the previous one, this one is unbleached and thus, completely food-safe. Bleach and chlorine are two things you definitely don’t want anywhere near your food or your skin. Fortunately, with this cheesecloth, you don’t have to worry about security. All you need to do is use it and prepare some truly delicious food.
It is reusable and has a remarkably long lifespan for something so fine. This is thanks to the fact that it is grade 90 cheesecloth – the strongest variation of cheesecloth there is. You can wash it over and over with a mild detergent and warm water. Please wash it by hand.
It is also lint-free, ensuring that your food will be safe not only from chlorine but also from annoying bits of cotton that may appear when you use cheesecloth of worse quality.
An interesting and welcome perk is the DIY guide that comes with this cheesecloth. You can use it to find out more about the many ways you can use your cheesecloth.
- Unbleached cotton
- Hundreds of uses
- It can be difficult to cut
3. Arkwright Bleached Weave Cheesecloth: Grade 40
If you want something else than grade 90 cheesecloth, look no further. This delicate cloth will do the job of many other types credibly. You’ll also be pleased to hear that it is extra large.
- Super-large 630 square feet and 70 square yards cheesecloth
- Durable and reusable
While this cheesecloth is a much finer grade than our previous two, do not be fooled by that little fact. It is still quite sturdy and can be washed and reused for as long as you want it to be. It is remarkably strong for a grade 40 cheesecloth and will endure many different types of uses.
You can wash it in the washing machine or by hand in the sink. Only use a mild detergent and some warm water. If there are any bits of curd sticking to the cloth, you can rinse the cloth with whey or white vinegar – this will remove them.
The extra-large size is equal to 70 yards and the weight is equal to 1 yard. Many cheesecloths are only 2-5 yards long – you can see how big this one is in comparison!
- Larger than nearly all competitors
- Great for straining stocks, canning, cheeses
- Not as fine-weave as some other cloths
4. Cheesecloth and Cooking Twine by Kitchen Gizmo
Moving on to the next grade of cheesecloth we find this outstanding product by Kitchen Gizmo – a grade 50 cheesecloth that has many different uses.
- Washable and reusable
For those that are conscious of the environmental footprint they leave on the planet, Kitchen Gizmo provides this 100% biodegradable product that is safe for the earth. Despite being made from such an eco-friendly material, this cheesecloth is still sturdy enough to be washable and reusable.
It’s all-natural and includes no synthetic materials at all. This cheesecloth is 100% pure cotton. It’s also quite economical and extremely affordable, for half the price of some, so you’re getting twice as much cheesecloth.
Unlike many others, it comes with cooking twine that can be washed and reused just as the cheesecloth itself. As such, it is all you need to start making cheese.
- Comes with cooking twine
- For making cheese, we recommend finer cheesecloth
5. Micron Nut Milk Bag
Why have just one cheesecloth when you can have two for half the price? This iAesthete product provides a fantastic alternative to many other cheesecloths, and it is great for making cold brew coffee!
- Big enough for multiple usages
- 100% Food grade nylon
This cheesecloth is rather small, measuring 12″ by 12″, but that does not make it bad. If you don’t need something huge, you will do just fine with a smaller model. The upside of this one is that there are two cheesecloths in the pack, all the while maintaining a highly affordable price!
It’s multiple usage and will work fine with things like nut milk, vegetable juice, fruit juice, tea, and most of all – cold brew coffee! If you’re a coffee-lover, you will appreciate the pure taste of the home-made cold brew.
- Many uses
- Competitive pricing
- Not ideal for cheese
6. Pure Acres Farm 100% Unbleached Cotton: Grade 50
The second Pure Grade product on our list, this cheesecloth is top-quality and will satisfy the most demanding foodie. Best of all, it is very durable and can be used over and over.
- 100% natural
- Top-quality and lint-free
We cannot stress the importance of using unbleached cotton enough. Fortunately, this product is entirely unbleached and safe for the whole family. It doesn’t matter if you use it in the kitchen or even directly on the skin – it will never harm you.
Grade 50 cheesecloth provides many different uses and will not disappoint you regardless of what you’re trying to make.
This cheesecloth comes with bonus cotton strong that measures at 75 feet. As such, it is all you need and you can start making your favorite food the moment you receive it.
- Long lifespan
- Only 2 yards
7. Olicity 100% Unbleached Cotton Fabric Cheesecloth: Grade 90
This ultra-fine cheesecloth is ideal for things like butter, making cheese, baking and decorations. Despite being so fine, it is also very sturdy and can be reused as needed.
- Perfect for butter and cheeses
- Multiple household uses
- Grade 90
This cheesecloth is grade 90, which makes it the top-grade cheesecloth you can find. Its amazing quality will outshine many competitors and it will impress you with its durability. It can be washed and reused many times over, which is not always the case with lower grades.
It is completely lint-free, so you can safely use it for all types of cooking without worrying about finding lint in your cheese or butter. It can also be used for things such as yogurt, roasting, wrapping spices and many other household uses not related to cooking.
- Ultra-fine cheesecloth
- It could be larger
8. Nut Milk Bag Reusable Cheesecloth Bags
While these nut milk bags are not exactly made for cheese, you will find they have many other uses and they will fill a niche in your kitchen that you may have not known you needed.
- Multiple uses
- SGS Certified
These reusable and washable cheesecloth bags are a unique addition to any kitchen. They’re multi-function and have dozens of uses. You can use them as a general filter, homemade juicer, yogurt or cheesemaker.
Despite their small size, they will tackle most tasks just fine and they will impress you with their perfect design. They’re not huge, but they’re the optimal size for the kind of tasks they’re designed for.
- Unique design
- Durable and reusable
- Bags as opposed to cloth
- They will not fully replace cheesecloth