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How to wash cheesecloth
February 28, 2010
10:13 am
Suzanne McMinn
Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV
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I talked about this in one of my blog posts but thought I'd open a topic for it to make the info easier to find.  Cheesecloth isn't all that expensive, but I use a lot of it so I don't like to just throw it out.  To wash cheesecloth, thoroughly rinse it out then put it in a pot of water.  I sprinkle a little bit of washing soda in the pot then boil it.  Then I rinse the cloth again thoroughly in cool water.  I hang it to dry over a clothes hanger.  When it's completely dry, I fold it up and seal it up in a ziploc baggie.  Since I use both cheesecloth and butter muslin (cheesecloth is for hard cheeses, butter musin for soft cheeses) and because it's hard to tell them apart after they are out of the original packaging, I label the baggies butter muslin or cheesecloth.

I also washed the cheesecloth I used for lard, but I took a few extra steps with that.  After doing the first wash and boil with washing soda and the rinse, then I swished it around in the pot with some dishwashing liquid (to cut any remaining grease), rinsed it till the water ran clear (no more suds) then boiled one more time (this time without washing soda).  Then hang to dry etc as with cloth I use for cheese.  I labelled the package "lard" –even though I washed it quite thoroughly, I just feel weird about it, LOL.  I will use that cloth next time I make lard, but I don't want to use it with cheese.  I keep re-using my cheesecloths until they wear out!

Clover made me do it.
February 28, 2010
10:34 am
Pete
WV
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All good to know!  No, cheesecloth is not TOO expensive, but why waste it?  It's not that cheap, either.   Surprised

Was wondering about the cheesecloth in your recent pics of it.  That sure doesn't look like what is available around here.  Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places?

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
February 28, 2010
10:45 am
CindyP
Hart, MI
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I was wondering about the cheesecloth in the lard post…….. My cheesecloth looks like the holes are bigger, unless you've got many layers there?

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold
February 28, 2010
10:46 am
Suzanne McMinn
Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV
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Pete, in most cases what you'll find in hardware stores, grocery stores, etc, is not the kind of cheesecloth you want to use for cheese.  It's okay for household use for other purposes, but I wouldn't use it for cheesemaking.  Often the weave is not tight enough (you would risk losing cheese!) and it's not as strong as professional-quality cheesecloth--which is durable enough to wash and boil and rinse and re-use over and over.

Butter muslin is an even finer weave than regular cheesecloth, which is why it's used for soft cheeses.

You can buy cheesecloth and butter muslin from cheesecloth supply companies.  I get mine from New England Cheesemaking.  http://www.cheesemaking.com

Clover made me do it.
February 28, 2010
10:48 am
Suzanne McMinn
Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV
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Cindy, where did you get your cheesecloth?  If yours has bigger holes, it might be because it's from a hardware store.

Clover made me do it.
February 28, 2010
10:55 am
CindyP
Hart, MI
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That's the only kind I've found…….actually I think I got it in the kitchen section at Meijer.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold
February 28, 2010
11:05 am
wvhomecanner
North Central WV
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Cheesecloth definitely varies in quality from place to place. Some I have purchased practically disintegrates before you use it the first time Cry. Makes sense to me to invest in some good quality cheesecloth for making cheese etc. I have picked up some used men's handkerchiefs and some used white linen napkins that are bleachable and reusable for some tasks (spice bags and such), but good cheesecloth – not found around here. Good to have the link Suzanne posted.

dede

If common sense were truly common, wouldn't there be more evidence of it?
February 28, 2010
11:05 am
Suzanne McMinn
Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV
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That's probably fine for a lot of stuff, Cindy, but I wouldn't use it for soft cheeses especially.

Clover made me do it.
February 28, 2010
11:26 am
CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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Coffee filters are great for straining lard through.  Might help save your cheesecloth…

February 28, 2010
11:29 am
CindyP
Hart, MI
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Well, from looking at the link, that is not what my cheesecloth is!!  Then there is reusable and disposable.  And with the pricing of real reusable cheesecloth, washing is needed!!!  The cheesecloth I have cost $1 for 2 yards……definitely not the same for real cheesecloth.  I have a piece of muslin cloth (fabric store) that I use to drain yogurt for yogurt cheese and another piece for fruit pulp.  I wash that to keep reusing.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold
February 28, 2010
12:16 pm
Suzanne McMinn
Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV
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I've never bought the disposable cheesecloth.  That sounds wasteful to me, LOL.  I figure the disposable is made of a cheaper material and won't stand up to repeated washing and that's why it's labeled disposable.  Washing cheesecloth takes hardly any time at all!  I just rinse it with my hands under running water to rinse the curds off (just takes a couple minutes) then stick in the pot to boil with the washing soda.  After that, I just rinse again (takes another minute of my time) then hang to dry.  It dries in a few hours.  I dry mine in a closet hanging from the clothes rack so that no cat hair gets on it, LOL.  Then put it in the ziploc baggie.

This sounds a little weird, but I actually like washing it.  It's relaxing for some reason.  And it's easy!  (Washing the lard cloth was a little more effort, but for cheese, it's quick and easy.)

Clover made me do it.
March 1, 2010
10:40 pm
Maud
Virginia
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October 9, 2009
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Except for the boiling, washing cheese cloth sounds a lot like cleaing bellydance drag….

Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm. ~Ambrose Bierce
March 1, 2010
11:10 pm
Flatlander
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I use bakingsoda to wash my cheesecloth.

Cindy the cheesecloth will get smaller holes when you wash it…

The cheap one though is awesome for crafts…I love it.

I bought the cheesecloth I use for cheese at Nutters..but that might be a Canadian  only store and unknown to you.

March 4, 2010
11:12 pm
LK
Mighty Chicken
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March 3, 2010
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I will have to remember about Nutter's. I have to drive a long way to find one of those, though (over an hour). I am going to be getting some more cheesecloth through some Hutterites, and the ladies are even going to stitch up around the edges. I also got my rennet and will be getting a wood and stainless steel press from them shortly too. The cheesecloth is going to be made to fit the press. It is all very reasonably priced too.

To clean my cheesecloth, pots, and such I have used vinegar, given it a little scrub, then washed in hot dishsoap-y water and rinsed it out with hot water and then air dry. The vinegar lifts everything off quite well, and will disinfect too. Used undiluted, it is as effective a cleaner as Lysol…99.9% effective from what I have read.

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