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Cheese Cloth or ...?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Since I make a lot of stock, broth, and soup, I do a lot of straining of liquids. Cheese cloth has always been the medium of choice, but lately I've been wondering if there might be something better. One recent day, out of necessity, some broth was strained through a small gold coffee filter - http://www.swissgold.com/pdf/swissgo...r_englisch.pdf - and the results were quite satisfactory.

Unfortunately, while the filters do a great job for small batches, it takes quite a bit of time to filter six or eight quarts of broth. However, I like the idea that the filters are reuseable, unlike cheese cloth which gets tossed after each batch.

So, is there anything else that I can use besides cheese cloth that is reuseable? Something that I can pour a few quarts of liquid through? What about muslin, or other cloth material that can be washed? How about a chinoise? Apart from it's fitering ability (of which I know nothing) my only concern about a chinoise is that it may be too deep.

shel
post #2 of 23
I've tried paper coffee filters, Shel, but it takes two days longer than forever to strain anything through them. And you have to change them out often, because the fats and suspended particulates clog them real fast.

Basically, I stick to a cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh sieve. True, you have to discard the cheesecloth when you're done. But it's so efficient at the job that it's worth it to me.

I agree that the chinoise is too deep. Not unless you're making a small amount of stock in a very tall pot. :look:
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 23
Ive used a clean terry cloth towel a few times. I foudn it works nicely and gets like all the grit and what not that builds up. It also seems to strain out alot of the fat.
post #4 of 23

Cheese cloth or...........

I purchased a length of loosely woven fabric in a discount store (fabric dept.). It was a loose weave, but cosiderably closer than than cheese cloth. More like loosely woven muslin. Was very inexpensive!

I line a stainless steel wire sieve with this fabric. Of course, launder the fabric first, before using! Dampen the cloth and thoroughly wring out. Place lined sieve over a large enough pot or bowl and ladle (or pour) your broth through.

After using the cloth, I launder it and it is ready for the next time. After a few uses, and the cloth does not look too good any more.....I throw it away and cut a fresh piece from the length that I keep in my kitchen drawer.
post #5 of 23
the same as Lisbet...

I purchased loose woven and tight woven raw, no dye cotton material by the yard.

I made various size handkerchief (asked my wife to sow a border) and use these for filters (for yogurt, broth, pomegranate juice, fruit juice for jelly making, cheese making, soy milk, steaming rice or hot dog buns, etc.)

Important note: Before using your cloth the first time, wash them to remove the oily residue from the weaving operation.
Also immediately after using as a filter, I rinsed them well then soak the cotton in chlorinated water (1 tsp of bleach in 2 gal of water). When it is time to wash, I use detergent soap at half rate and add vinegar instead of fabric softener to neutralize the bleach and avoid perfumy smells. Hang dry or in the dryer without a static sheet.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #6 of 23
Be sneaky, be cheap, get your own durable, washable, extra-thick cheesecloth. Where to get it?

At baby and maternity stores, in the form of 100% cotton diapers.

Hope this helps
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks, gang .... you've offered some good ideas. Luc, thanks for the washing tips. Although I've used vinegar in the rinse before, I don't know if I'd have thought of it in this instance.

Diapers sound like a good option.

KY, I know that cheesecloth is efficient, but around here it ain't cheap (maybe I'm looking in the wrong places - $4.00 for a couple-three yards) and that's the main reason I'm looking for alternatives, plus it seems so wasteful to be tossing the stuff after using it.

shel
post #8 of 23
Well then, try foodpump's idea and see if it works for you.

I use diapers as general kitchen cloths, cuz they're highly absorbant (duh) but still have a hard finish so are great for things like wiping knives between uses. And when it comes to things like wringing the liquid out of, say, spinach, I've not found anything better.

The few times I've tried them as primary straining cloths, however, they clogged up almost as quickly as paper filters, because they have a fairly tight weave. Fat builds up on the surface and forms a seal.

With stocks and broths, diapers, in my experience, make a good second filter. That is, everything first gets run through the cheesecloth-lined sieve. Then it goes through a diaper-lined sieve if necessary, after first cooling the fat and skimming it.

Diapers will initially be high priced. But they last ten days longer than forever, so the actual cost is next to nothing. New diapers are heavily sized, so have to be washed first to remove it.

I buy my cheesecloth in a hardware store rather than kitchen supply place. Last time I bought any I paid something like a buck ninety eight for a package containing 2 square yards.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 23
Go with either the muslim or with well washed well worn tea towels. I've tried paper towel/kitchen towel in emergencies but it's not much good. Well worn diaper cloths are great for a number of uses. I'd use them also.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #10 of 23

Cheese Cloth or...? Diapers & Towels?

I just can't see using anything that is highly absorbent, such as diapers or some towels. They take in too much of the liquid, which is a loss, and I just couldn't stand twisting and wringing out cloths. Just the idea makes me shudder and gives me the "willies"!

I prefer my loose weave musilin. The type I bought was made of a combination of cotton and a man-made fibre. It retaines a very minimal of the fluid and could be easily drained with a squeeze of the hand!
post #11 of 23
First of all it should be china cap first to get out all the chunky bits then a chinoise to strain any finer stuff. They both come in a variety of sizes.

If the available sizes are too big try looking for a jelly strainer.
"Just can't wait to get on the road again."
Willie Nelson
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"Just can't wait to get on the road again."
Willie Nelson
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post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Lisbet ... I'll check some options before making the next batch of broth or stock.

shel
post #13 of 23
Also, don't let your stock/broth boil at all and that will keep it clearer. Even a high simmer will break too much up.
post #14 of 23
I don't use anything but the muslin and stainless wire sieve as a strainer. Before straining I fish out all the larger parts, such as bone, meat, chunky vegies with a "spider" and put them aside in another bowl. Discard vegies after they have given up their "all".

In the case of chicken (and beef, too)...I just allow meats to cook until properly done, taking them out at that point. I return chicken skin and bones back for further cooking to extract every bit of flavor from them. When you cook the meats too long they become stringy and not so tender...especially when you want to use them later in your soup.

Then I refrigerate the strained liquid in the fridge overnight to congeal so I can remove the fat in the morning. For a stronger broth the liquid can be returned to stove top and cook for further reduction.
post #15 of 23
You can also clarify stock by beating eggs with vinegar. Pour the mixture into the stock and hold just below a simmer. The eggs will come to the top in a "raft" which you can skim away. If you ever make turkey soup and it turns milky looking because it started to boil, the eggs and vinegar will make it clear again.
post #16 of 23
You can also clarify stock by beating eggs with vinegar. Pour the mixture into the stock and hold just below a simmer. The eggs will come to the top in a "raft" which you can skim away along with all the little bits. If you ever make turkey soup and it turns milky looking because it started to boil, the eggs and vinegar will make it clear again.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
My issue isn't cloudy stock. It's just a matter of finding the best way to strain it.

shel
post #18 of 23
I use a fine mesh strainer.....no cheese cloth, though spices go into a cloth bag that came in a package of 100 at a greatly discounted sale.....up until the sale they were just thrown into the pot.

This thread is alittle confusing....you aren't looking to clarify the stock, you have volumes of broth and are just looking to remove the veg/meat/bone/spice matter......

So, what happens when you use a fine mesh strainer?
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
That's correct. No need to clarify, just wanting to strain well.

The strainers that I have are not fine enough to remove some of the fine particulates, which, when making broth just for myself is not always a concern. The particulates settle to the bottom of the mason jars in which the stock/broth is stored.

Using cheese cloth is helpful, but it gets expensive (relatively speaking) and I just hate to use a piece once and throw it out. That's why I want to find an alternative method/material that can be reused.

The gold coffee filters are perfect for small batches, such as when straining a quart or so from one of the mason jars, but for the initial straining the filters are too small.

shel
post #20 of 23
Well, there's always the the "Freezer method" which I have employed for seafood stocks-notoriously difficult to strain.

What you do is strain the liquid as best you can into a tall container, stick a spoon in it and freeze it solid. Next day warm up the container in hot water and pull out the stock like a popsicle. All the sediment and crud have settled to the bottom and are frozen in place. Set the popsicle onto a pan and melt off the first 1" or so that contains all the sediment. Now you just have to melt down the clear stock.... No cheesecloth or gold plated coffe filters needed.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
That doesn't sound like such a good idea - wouldn't the stock pick up any smells and contaminants from the freezer?

shel
post #22 of 23
I really don't see what is so very complicated. All that needs to be done is lift out bones, meat, and used up vegetables with a large slotted spoon, or I use what I call a "spider" (an oriental spoon...the broad spoon part is an open weave of gold colored metal, think it may be brass, and a bamboo handle). That gets rid of the bulky stuff. Then I use my purchased cotton/polyester muslin cloth (not very expensive to begin with; can be washed and bleached to use over again several times) with my mesh stainless steel sieve. Strain broth right out of the pot while still hot into a container where it cools off; fill into jars and refrigerate. After a few hours lift off the fat....but I leave a small amount because that also contributes to flavor. After that, clarifying can be done if you wish, but there really is no need to if making.....say, vegetable soup or chicken noodle.

I use the same type of cloth in jelly making. Can be bought at most any yard goods counter where fabric is sold.
post #23 of 23
fine mesh strainer, under $7......got 5 in the kitchen......along with a spider and 4 square long handled large webbed thingys.....well and the chinoise and the multiple large hole strainers......
fine mesh works for the monstrous stock pots of broth.....the chinoise sits in the corner wondering why on earth it's even in the kitchen.
Restaurant supply house or even a discount store has the strainers......discount house probably cheaper than restaurant supply.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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