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When I make horchata or aqua frescas, I often have a large volume (quarts) of liquid that could benefit from straining. Usually only the small fine mesh strainer can get out the fine particles that remain after running the juices through the blender.

I haven't really seen very fine mesh strainers that are bigger than a couple inches across; I'd like to be able to strain a large volume at once. Are there any tricks of the trade?

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At restaurant supply stores, you can get much larger fine strainers than consumer stores normally have. Another type is the chinoise or china cap, which may or may not be suitable for your needs; these typically have very fine mesh. These can be available in larger capacities.

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You may also have success with a tamis, which is a drum type strainer, although these are harder to find.

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Cheese cloth is easy to find and does a great job when we make horchata.

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I use a regular mesh strainer like the one below, and I line it with a few layers of cheese cloth. Depending on your colander's design, it might work too.

The number of layers depends on what your straining, and how loose the cheesecloth is. I use it more often to make mascarpone cheese and I typically use 3 or 4 layers.

I set the strainer over a large bowl and load the strainer and cheese cloth with as much unstrained liquid as it will take. Something like horchata shouldn't take too long, a few minutes maybe. When I make mascarpone I set the strainer (in its bowl) in the refrigerator overnight.

strainer

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Could you be more specific about how you use the cheesecloth? How many layers do you use? Do you place it into a large funnel? Can you pour in two quarts or more and wait, or does it flow right through? –  Jeff Axelrod Aug 30 '13 at 16:05
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Frequently health food stores and asian markets will have "milk bags" that are used for straining soy milk and nut milks. They usually look either like a pillowcase with a drawstring at the open end, or occasionally a long cloth tube with a wire handle. Either way, you pour the liquid in and the fine mesh of the cloth holds the particles back, but the large surface area allows the liquid to drain quickly. You then rinse the cloth inside out and wash it before reusing. I've used them to make both nut milks and cold brewed coffee and they work a lot faster than a strainer of equivalent mesh size. Another advantage is that the cloth allows you to squeeze the liquid out of the pulp for maximum yield. Milk bag

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