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Old 01-19-2008, 04:19 PM   #1
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Cheesecloth for steaming rice

I have a bamboo rice steamer which you put over a pan of simmering water, lay cheese cloth inside filled with rice and cover to steam rice. I suppose I can steam other things in there too. Is this the cloth I need:



There's an ebay listing for it, but I'm not allowed to post URLs until I have 20 posts.

Is a cheese cloth washed with the dishes or in the washing machine?

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Old 01-19-2008, 07:37 PM   #2
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Hi there,
In my opinion this is not the cloth you want. Cheesecloth has a much more open weave. An alternative would be a couple of layers of COTTON MUSLIN. Also, I would suggest buying a couple of metres from your local fabric shop and making sure that it is washed/rinsed thoroughly in boiling water to ensure that any chemical treatments applied to the cloth are leached out. You will find plenty of uses for the cloth e.g. straining sauces, jellies, making bouquet garnis so the investment will be worthwhile.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:51 PM   #3
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You don't indicate where you live, sean, but go to your local hobby store (like Hobby Lobby or Michaels), the fabric section of Wal-Mart or to your mega home center (Lowe's or The Home Depot) and ask for cheesecloth.

It looks like a huge piece of gauze (like those put on cuts/wounds) and comes by the yard.
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Old 01-19-2008, 09:40 PM   #4
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you may check "cheesecloth" in froogle as you search google (I can't post a url link here)
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:02 AM   #5
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The cheesecloth you want is a looser weave (about 28-35 threads per inch - just counting the horizontal threads). The finer weave cheesecloths go up to a "thread count" of about 120 threads per inch. Muslin goes from 120-150 generally, and bedsheets generally start around 180 up to 300 for the really nice ones.

I have a bamboo steamer (a stack of 4), too, and I never use it to make rice. And, I don't need cheesecloth for anything I steam in it.

Actually, you don't need a steamer to make "steamed rice" - just a stove, a flat bottom pot with a tight fitting lid, and a little know-how. Basically - you put the water and rice in the pot, bring it to a boil, put the lid on and turn the heat to the lowest setting - then after 15-20 minutes you turn the heat off, and let it sit for another 10 minutes without lifting the lid. This "steams" the rice. Well - that's the 25-cent introduction instructions ... For complete instructions - read this on How to make perfect steamed rice.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:51 AM   #6
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sean - I have the same steamer you have probably. Is it this one?

About the cheesecloth - This picture probably gives you a good example of how sheer it is. What you have pictured is much too heavy.

The rice I use has to be soaked in water for about 6 hours and then I line that basket, pour in the rice, cover with the cheesecloth, and cook over the metal container for about 20 minutes. I LOVE Thai sticky rice! This rice HAS to be soaked though - I've tried otherwise and it just doesn't cook.

Forgot to say - the cheesecloth you use is thrown away at the end of use.
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Old 01-23-2008, 03:51 PM   #7
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You say you line the steamer - what with? I wanted the cheesecloth so that I could line the steamer. The Asian lady suggested grease-proof paper but I thought cheesecloth would be re-usable. Maybe I should use a pillowcase :)

This is what my steamer looks like (the one shown is tiered, but I only own a single tier).
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:11 PM   #8
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[quote=seans_potato_business;538242]You say you line the steamer - what with? I wanted the cheesecloth so that I could line the steamer. The Asian lady suggested grease-proof paper but I thought cheesecloth would be re-usable. Maybe I should use a pillowcase :)

I use white dish towels. They are more of a cotton linen and not terry cloth. Mine came in a package of seven with the days of the week printed on the bottom of each. (the printing does not wash out or fade) They are old fashion looking. I either got them at Walmart, Sears, or Cook's Nook. They cost under $10.

You could also just use white paper towels maybe like Viva. You can also line the rice cooker with cabbage leaves which is what they used to do. Someone on TV had a rice bag that they put in the steamer maybe it was a pillowcase!
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:19 PM   #9
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I line my steamer with the cheesecloth I have linked. But my steamer is for Thai sticky rice like the one in the other link. I have the steamer you have but I use that more for cooking foods versus rice. I like the cabbage suggestion by SB.
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:13 PM   #10
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Cabbage leaves eh? Now I am wondering if horseradish leaves would work as well, maybe give it an interesting taste too LOL.
We asked about this stuff when we last visited our local Thai grocery store, and the owner there (a fella that immigrated from Thailand with his family and set up the grocery store and restaurant) said he didn't get real caught up in exactly which cheesecloth, cloth, etc to use. The point from him was to always use something organic (he personally used banana leaves) that would allow the steam to rise up into the bamboo steamer and permeate the rice. IE if you use something that blocks the steam then it wont steam the rice.
Then I have heard others say it is very very important and makes all the difference in the world when it comes to how well it turns out.
We used the cheesecloth recommended by the manufacturer (28 - 35 as Michael has already pointed out above) and it works fine for us. Half the time we just use the pan method, also pointed out by Michael above, and don't even get the steamer out at all.
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