Any good chef keeps cheesecloth handy in the kitchen. It is used to catch the curd while allowing the whey to drain when making cheese. It is usually made of loosely woven cotton with enough holes to provide good drainage. It is important that it is free of any dyes to avoid affecting the flavor. Save a few bucks by making your cheesecloth from home.
Use cotton handkerchiefs. Large, plain white handkerchiefs make for excellent homemade cheesecloth. They are hardy and porous, and will serve all your drainage needs.
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Try cotton dish towels. White, non-terry towels can also serve as homemade cheesecloth. As they are not quite as permeable as normal cheesecloth, they may require extra time for full drainage.
Try Muslin fabric. This fabric is porous and is often used to make homemade tea bags. Cut the fabric into 12 by 12-inch squares and hem the edges. Be sure the cloth has not been dyed or chemically treated.
Use tea bags. For small pieces of cheesecloth, try using empty tea bags purchased at any local grocer.
Use case cloth. This includes 100% cotton bed sheets or pillow cases. Clean with bleach or boil fabric for sanitation.
Use homemade cheesecloth to strain stocks and broth by stretching a clean sheet over a large pot. Pour the stock over the cloth and it will catch any bits and pieces.
Do not reuse homemade cheesecloth after making particularly pungent cheese as the flavor may linger. Tea bags are often more delicate than regular cheesecloth and will break easily.