What is grade 60 cheesecloth used for?
Monarch Brands carries many grades of cheesecloth for different purposes. Grade 60 cheesecloth is the most widely used cloth… in the manufacturing of cheese.
Our resident cheesecloth expert Lucy Bauccio has written some thoughts regarding cheesecloth in food production:
When I started in this industry 33 years ago, I had a fascination with cheesecloth. I needed to learn as much as I could. I went to several manufacturing plants to actually see what they did and was also blessed with wonderful customers sending me pictures of their finished product.
A versatile fabric for so many projects
Grade 60 Cheesecloth is a gauzy, lightweight, woven 100% cotton fabric with tiny holes that allows air to flow through the fabric. The count of threads per square inch is 32×28. This is considered a medium to tight weave and is the most popular of grades. Cheesecloth is available in several different grades, from open to extra-fine weave. Grades are distinguished by the number of threads per inch in each direction. In future posts, I’ll tell you about the uses of each of the popular constructions.
Cheesecloth is not just a name!
Cheesecloth is really used to make cheese. This type of fabric started being referred to as “cheesecloth” because cheesemakers realized that it protected cheese but also allowed it to breathe while it aged. For this reason, cheesecloth is wrapped around some types of wheels of cheese while they age. Ex.: Locatelli, Parmigiana Reggiano, Cheddar, etc. My mother who was born in Italy is the one who taught me about wrapping hard cheeses in cheesecloth many years ago. She would put it in a brown bag and store it in our second refrigerator in the garage. This let the cheese breathe and helped it maintain moisture after cutting big chunks off the wheel to grate.
The primary use of Grade 60 Cheesecloth is in some styles of cheese making, such as Ricotta cheese (well, technically, ricotta is not a cheese at all, but a cheese by-product. Its name, ricotta, means cooked again, an obvious reference to the production method used to make it. Where it is used to remove whey from cheese curds and to help hold the curds together as the cheese is formed.) Also in manufacturing of Goat Cheese, Farmers Cheese, Paneer, etc.
Gourmet cheesecloth techniques
Other uses of the grade 60 cheesecloth are for straining stocks, custards, thickening yogurt, making tofu & ghee. Saucy dishes like braised short ribs or oxtail stew start with a good stock and a good stock starts with the seasoning—a sachet or a bouquet garni. They are both bundles of cheesecloth stuffed with herbs and spices and used to season soups, stews, and stocks.
The bundle is tied with butcher’s twine to the handle of the cooking pot, allowing for easy removal from the finished product. A sachet differs from a bouquet garni in that the latter only consists of herbs, usually parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.