What is Cheesecloth?

Cheesecloth is actually a muslin fabric that is woven very loosely on a special loom, making it more mesh like or gauzy in appearance. The amount of actual cotton thread that goes into making cheesecloth is much less than that used to make muslin fabric. One square yard of muslin that has 72 threads by 68 threads per square inch weighs approximately  5 ounces. One square yard of Grade 50 cheesecloth that has 28 threads by 24 threads per square inch weighs approximately 1 ounce.

In this article we wish to clarify the differences and similarities between muslin and cheesecloth to help you better understand the terminology used to describe these very similar fabrics. This should guide you in making the proper purchasing decision for your particular project.


Grades of Cheesecloth

Cheesecloth comes in several different grades and all grades have different uses. The grade is determined by the number of threads per square inch.

  • Grade 10 has 20 x 12 threads per square inch
  • Grade 20 has 20 x 16 threads per square inch
  • Grade 40 has 24 x 20 threads per square inch
  • Grade 50 has 28 x 24 threads per square inch
  • Grade 60 has 32 x 28 threads per square inch
  • Grade 80 has 40 x 32 threads per square inch
  • Grade 90 has 44 x 36 threads per square inch
  • Grade 100 has 50plus x 40plus threads per square inch

Cheesecloth is also referred to as course weave, fine weave and extra-fine weaves. Another term commonly used is Butter Muslin and that refers to Grade 90 Cheesecloth. Most sellers of cheesecloth do not specify the Grade of Cheesecloth they sell, which makes it difficult to purchase the exact grade you need for your project.

Cotton Yarn Count

Sewing yarns made of cotton are classified according to the English cotton-count system, with the abbreviation NeB. The NeB reveals how many hanks, each of length 840 yards (768,08 m) weigh one lb (English pound = 451,59 g).

60 hanks of cotton yarn, that weigh 1 English pound, give the NeB 60.

Taken from the https://www.guetermann.com/shop/en/view/content/Industry%20Numbering%20System?node=Industry-Numbering-System.

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The thread count determines how thick the thread is and cheesecloth is usually made of 40/2 ( also written 40s*40s).

How Did Cheesecloth Get Its Name?

The answer to that is rather self explanatory. People have used cheese cloth for centuries to filter the cheese curds from the whey, hence the name cheesecloth. The 2 words were combined into one word, cheesecloth, because it defined it’s use so exactly. The 100% cotton fabric is virtually lint-free and scent free so it is ideal for use in food preparation.

More Qualities of Cheesecloth

Cheesecloth can be described using several different qualities: type of material, thread count, width of material, thread thickness. Most cheese cloths have no seams at the edge, instead showing loose threads. Some applications require that this side be sewn into a seam that controls these loose threads.

How Do I know What Grade of Cheesecloth To Use

Below are some approximate guidelines to use when deciding which Grade of Cheesecloth to buy:

  • It is a good idea to go to a fabric store where you can see many different grades of cheesecloth and muslin.
  • Buy what you think you will need and experiment with different sizes. The fabric is very economical so buy several different grades.
  • When using the gravity method to drain your cheese if you are also using a colander use the very low Grades of cheesecloth – the so called open weaves.
  • When gravity draining and no colander is being used you will need a tighter, thicker, stronger weave cheesecloth, like a medium Grade 50 or Grade 60.
  • When wrapping cheese for aging use a very open weave Grade 10 or Grade 20.
  • Remember you can always use 2 or more layers to complete your task.
  • The choices for different grades of cheesecloth are almost limitless. Remember cheesecloth is just another name for a very openly woven muslin, so you can continue on into the tightly woven muslin to accomplish your goal.

I hope this article has helped answer the question What is Cheesecloth?

Where can I buy Cheesecloth?

You can purchase cheesecloth online from Amazon.com by following this link. Chefs Choice Cheesecloth






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