You are in the middle of making your delicious favorite meal and on opening the pantry, your cheesecloth ran out of stock! The first question that runs through your mind is, What can I use instead of cheesecloth? Well, there is no need to panic. Rest assured that there are numerous cheesecloth substitutes that will work magic for you. The market is awash with numerous options when it comes to substitution for cheesecloth. You will actually be spoilt for choice. You however need to know the different materials and items that can substitute different cheesecloth grades. Lets have a quick look at some of the outstanding cheesecloth substitutes that as readily available.
In an average kitchen, you do not need to go shopping for cheesecloth alternatives. There are numerous options around you and with a creative mind you will achieve incredible results. Some of these substitutes for cheesecloth include;
1. Coffee filters
You definitely have loads of these lying in the drawer. Well its about time you diversified. Coffee filters are designed to let liquids sip through while leaving the residue behind. This is the basic role cheesecloth play in straining. The coffee filter will thus be an excellent cheesecloth substitute.
Coffee filters have a weave that is similar to that of fine grade cheesecloth. Some filters may have even finer weave. Unlike with cheesecloth, you will need to maintain a keen eye on the coffee filters. The filters are made of paper and may break. Do not overstretch them.
2. Kitchen towel
Kitchen towels have a similar weave to fine grade cheesecloth such as grade 90 cheesecloth. The only difference is that kitchen towels have a tendency to hold more moisture than cheesecloth. This however shouldn’t stop you from using it as a cheesecloth substitute.
While using kitchen towels as cheese cloth alternatives, ensure that you squeeze them thoroughly. It is advisable that you go for unbleached towels that do not have any dyes. Ensure that they are clean before use. Towels dedicated for food processing shouldn’t be used for other purposes.
Surprised at how twine can substitute cheesecloth? Well, of course you wouldn’t be substituting cheesecloth with twine to strain cheese. Cheesecloth has numerous uses most ow which we have discussed in a previous post. One of such uses is tying herbs and this is where twine comes in.
Twine can effectively be used to tie herbs and spices. Ensure that the twine is clean before using to achieve the desired results just as you would if you were using cheesecloth.
4. Meshed bags
If you love almond milk then you definitely have fine meshed bags in your cupboard. Do not let these bags sit idle yet you are struggling to strain broth and other liquids. These bags will come in handy and will definitely save the day,
Most fine meshed bags are re-usable. They are made from nylon and can be washed, stored and re-used. The nylon material ensures that the bags do not overstretch. When cleaned thoroughly, they do not store any odor from past use thus will not transfer any taste or odor to your meals.
5. Chinois strainer
This is a conical sieve made of extremely fine mesh. Its commonly used to strain sauces, puree, soup and custards. Its efficiency in producing smooth texture makes it a very suitable cheesecloth substitute.
The chinois strainer is popularly known as china cap. It was traditionally used to strain fluids that are very smooth. These include soups, stocks and sauces. the chinois is designed to include a plastic or metal handle. It also has an overhang on the opposite side of the handle that ensures that it rests upright in the sink or pot.
A chinois serves as a great substitution for cheesecloth. It delivers great results and its can be cleaned and re-used over and over. The fine mesh is easy to clean and rarely rusts.
6. Muslin bags
Muslin bags are made of muslin. Muslin may be defined as a loosely-woven cotton fabric. It is very popular in dress making and is normally used to make expensive custom dresses. This material is very reliable thus its use in making muslin bags.
Muslin bags may be available in over 10 sizes. They range from 2”x3” to 16”x20”. They may be used as part bags, storage bags, promotional bags, gift bags and food packaging bags. In the absence of cheesecloth, these bags will be a great alternative.
Muslin bags have a variety of weights. The weight is dependent on the material used. Normally, sheers or coarse sheets may be used. These are materials that are excellent in making tea bags thus making these bags reliable cheesecloth substitutes.
7. Flour sacks
These are sacks made from cotton towels. They are commonly used to store flour thus the name flour sacks. They are finely woven and they tend to be tighter than standard cheesecloth. When used as cheesecloth substitute, fluids may take longer to flow through the small holes.
The fine weave may see you take longer to sieve/strain fluids but will definitely give pulp free liquids. This is the result desired when straining cheese. All the whey is separated from the cheese delivering splendid results.
8. Tea towels
This is a fine cloth made from cotton or linen. Sometimes the two materials may be combines to give a smooth finish. The towels may have imprints or woven designs that are purely for decoration purposes.
Traditionally, tea towels were used in tea ceremonies to cover warm baked goods. These beautiful towels may also be used as cheesecloth alternatives. They can substitute cheesecloth in a number of functions such as tying herbs, cleaning utensils and straining cheese.
9. Cotton handkerchief
The simplest hacks may yield the most efficient results. Substituting cheesecloth with a handkerchief may sound like a far-fetched idea but its known to deliver great results. Large handkerchief has become popular in straining and sieving tasks.
Handkerchiefs are made of cotton material thus very effective in straining fluids. The material is similar to the fine grade cheesecloth. It will thus strain slowly but give fine finishes.
Using handkerchiefs as cheesecloth substitutes has a number of benefits. In addition to being cheap, the fabric is easily accessible and can be re-used over and over. The cleaning process is also easy and no specialized detergents are needed to clean them.
Cheesecloth alternatives may be the usual and sometimes the unusual. One of the substitutes that may never cross many people’s minds is the diaper. Well, of course it has to be new. The traditional diapers are best suited for this task.
Its very important that you label the diapers used as cheesecloth substitutes. Ensure that these diapers are kept away from baby cloths. This will avoid mixing with other diapers.
Cheesecloth is gaining popularity by the day. Quite a huge number of modern recipes include the use of cheesecloth. The unique piece of fabric is used in making cheese, jelly and straining among other uses in the kitchen. Luckily, there are cheesecloth substitutes that can be used if you do not have one in your pantry.
Cheesecloth is one of the most essential items that every kitchen should have. It has hundreds of uses and will always come in handy inside and outside the kitchen. You will find it to be a very useful fabric when cooking soups, sauces and broths.
In the event that you do not have any cheesecloth in your panty do not panic. There are numerous substitutes for cheesecloth to choose from. We hope that the options outlined in this post will work the magic for you. You can now sit pretty knowing that your straining needs are well catered for. You are spoilt for choice.