Recipes that need cheesecloth for straining are annoying. Cheesecloth doesn’t strain very well, doesn’t wash up very well, and is expensive. Plus, whatever your straining is bound to get stuck in it. So what are some alternatives to cheesecloth that you can use?
I’ve been asking myself the same question. A while back, I tried making almond milk with it and had SO many problems. Cheesecloth is a bigger pain than it’s worth. So I’ve been experimenting with alternatives to the cheesecloth.
Here’s a list of methods you can try.
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Alternatives to Cheesecloth
1. Disposable coffee filters
- Not cheesecloth.
- You can squeeze the remaining milk out of the almond meal pretty easily.
- It takes forever. It took me two hours to strain eight cups of almond milk. No. Just no.
- You can’t completely fill up the coffee filter, because it starts to cave in on itself. So you only get about 1/4 cup strained at a time.
- You also have to keep stirring it because the almond meal clogs the filter.
- Once you use the disposable filter, that’s it. You can’t use it again, so you have to throw it out.
I went through 40 disposable coffee filters for only one batch of milk. Not worth it.
2. Reusable coffee filters
- Easy to wash.
- Filters ALL the almond meal out.
- Slower than cheesecloth. It took about 20 minutes, compared to five and I had to stir constantly. Letting it drip out on its own mean it took an hour or more.
- Can’t fit more than about a cup of almond milk in it, so you have to dump it in very slowly.
- Have to scrape the almond meal out of the filter and into a bowl before putting more almond milk into it.
- Can’t squeeze remaining milk out of almond meal, so I have to transfer the meal to something else.
If you decide to go with a reusable filter, I recommend something with a large bottom that can sit up on its own. That way you don’t have to hold the filter as you pour.
3. A strainer
- Goes in your dishwasher.
- I bet you already have one.
- Way too much almond meal gets through. Strainers are meant for larger things like rice.
Unless you can find a super-fine strainer, I wouldn’t use this method. I hate grit in my beverages.
4. Nut milk bags
- Easy to wash in the sink or in a washing machine.
- Comes in different sizes.
- Not too expensive.
- Not as fast as the strainer, but still pretty fast.
- Fine mesh keeps anything from getting through.
- Funny name. (Also a pro?)
- A bit difficult to hang once something is in it.
- I’m actually starting to reach here, because this bag is wonderful.
The Nut Milk Bag wins hands-down. I’ve used it in:
- How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Pot
- Homemade Harry Potter Pumpkin Juice
- Pumpkin Pie Liqueur
- DIY Pumpkin Spice Bourbon Whiskey
Just to name a few. This stuff is AWESOME.
How nut milk bags work:
1. Blend the nuts as usual.
2. Put the bag in a bowl and dump the milk into the bag.
3. Carefully pick up the bag, letting it hover over the bowl. You can hold it if you have to, but I hang mine from the cabinets and let it drain while I clean up.
4. Once you’re done cleaning, give the bag a few gentle squeezes to get all the milk out and then you can prepare your almond flour.
That’s it. It’s so much easier than anything I have ever used.
With the coffee filter, it took me about an hour to separate all the meal.
With the cheesecloth, I may as well not have used anything. There was too much meal in the milk once I finished
With the nut milk bag, it takes about 5 minutes and none of the meal got through. This thing is amazing and well worth the money.
Bonus: You can throw it in the washer and reuse it. I put it in with my towels. The nut milk bag is very durable and super easy to wash. Win!
Q: Can you use dryer sheets?
No. The stuff that dryer sheets are made of is not safe for consumption. Don’t use it to strain anything you intend to consume.
Have you used any of these alternatives to cheesecloth? Will you ever go back? Let me know in the comments!
Why not strain the milk through a fine mesh first and then pass it through the coffee filter? Less solids to deal with going through the second pass.
Actually, I do that! I must have left that out. However, it doesn’t work all that well. A lot of the meal still gets through the mesh. But it gets out the HUGE chunks, so that’s nice.
use paint strainer bags – available at local hardware or paint store – less 2 bucks, reusable
That’s an interesting idea!