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A typical cheesecloth, folded up.

Cheesecloth is a loosely-woven cotton fabric used mostly in cheese making, to separate whey from curds. The whey/curd mixture is gathered in the cloth, and then squeezed around it to push out the liquid and hold the curds together, forming a lump of cheese.

Cheesecloth is also used to strain other foods like custards and stocks, or to wring out moisture in other foods.

Don't have a cheesecloth?

Unless you're a cheese maker, a cheesecloth is one of those things you don't use very often. If you're looking for a cheesecloth substitute, try one of these:

  1. Paper coffee filter
  2. A clean, lint-free, white cotton handkerchief with a fine weave.