Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Using Cheesecloth to Strain Homemade Yogurt

Coffee Filter Approach
Coffee Filter Approach
Lately I've been making homemade yogurt in the crock pot around once a week. Until last week, I had been using coffee filters to strain my yogurt (straining makes the yogurt thicker!). But for a 1/2 gallon of yogurt that requires a total of 3 coffee filter/strainer combinations...which takes up a lot of room in my fridge.

Solution? A cheesecloth. I purchased this porous cotton cloth at Publix for $3.99 (in the cleaning isle!).

Here's what it looks like:


Here's an up-close view. I folded my 2-yard-long cheesecloth over 4 times to achieve the proper thickness for straining the yogurt.
Appropriate thickness

Then I lined my largest strainer with the cloth. There is a bowl underneath the strainer to catch the whey.
Ready for straining

Then I scooped the yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined strainer and placed it in the fridge for several hours to let the yogurt strain.
Straining the yogurt

When it's reached the thickness you like, scrape all of the yogurt out of the cheesecloth and into a jar. Save the whey as well (you can use it as a buttermilk more about uses for whey in my original yogurt post).

This yogurt is thick and creamy! Squishy loves it and has been eating it for breakfast each morning.

Thick Yogurt for the Eating!

Notes on yogurt thickness: I've noticed that if I stir the yogurt a lot or if I add extra sweetener in at the end, the yogurt looses some of it's thickness. Not sure why that is!

To clean the cheesecloth, I have been rinsing it out with hot water and lemon juice immediately after use (I don't want the yogurt to dry onto it). Then I unfold it and let it air-dry.

I know there are many uses for cheesecloth, but yogurt-straining is my cloth's primary function right now. This gal made tea bags out of cheesecloth, which I thought was super cute (you know I'm in love with tea!).

Have you used a cheesecloth before?

Linked to Works For Me Wednesday and Homemaking Link-Up.

P.S. Today is the last day to enter to win an awesome Imprint Comfort Mat!! 

Also, the winner of the $10 Wal-Mart Gift Card is comment #86, WWillows6! I'll be sending you an email!


  1. This is called "hangop" in Holland wich means to hang up.(because you "hang" the yoghurt in a cloth) It's a delicacy and fancy restaurants serve it, because it's fashionable to serve oldfashioned Dutch food. Fun so see you make it aswell.
    Love Amelie

  2. I've been wanting to use cheesecloth but I haven't yet. A girlfriend of mine uses it to make sourdough bread. I should add cheesecloth to my to try list!

  3. I love the greek yogurt and I was just thinking the other day that isn't that just strained regular yogurt??

  4. I've done this before. Good thing you didn't wash it in the washing machine like I turned into a huge ball of thread! :)

  5. I use cheesecloth in my cheesemaking all of the time but I have always gotten the kind that is close woven - like a piece of cloth. You can also wash this kind in your washer as well and has lasted for many, many years. You can get it at I am terrible at making yogurt yet we love it. Our cow is due to freshen in January so I am going to try the crockpot method along with straining to see if I can master this process.

  6. Tammy, ya'll are the real deal! I love it. I just looked up what it means for a cow to "freshen"...

  7. Just realised that we just use a plain clean teatowel for it here; you don't have to buy anything and works out great!
    Love Amelie

  8. Since we are told over and over again to first wash clothes or other cloth, kitchen and bath items that are not made in America, I was just wondering if I should wash my new cheesecloth, since its made in China? Thank you.

  9. I think washing it first would probably be a good idea. I think I neglected to do that...ah well.

  10. I know this post is over a year old, but I had to say that you can strain yogurt and other cheeses with unbleached muslim. Super cheap at the fabric store. Usually less than $1.50 a yard. I bought a 1/4 yard and cut it down into 4 pieces that fully line my strainer. It scrubs up easier. I soak mine in vinegar and water and air dry. My cheese making instructor said that the cheese cloth you buy in the supermarket (like you have) is not intended for using on cheese. The weave is too open. Jelly straining bags work great for yogurt or cheese,too! Let unflavored drain down for 24-48 hours and you have yogurt cheese! Flavor it with herbs of your choice for a great cracker spread! YUM OR spin in the food processor with some strawberries and sweetner and you have a yummy "cream cheese" spread for your bagels.


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