Pastry Bags: Disposable or Reusable?
Disposable plastic pastry bags
To be fair, there are really 2 kinds of disposable bags. Plastic bags and parchment cones. You can make parchment cones yourself out of parchment paper triangles. You can make them large or small and they can even be fitted with a pastry tip at the end and filled with small amounts of frosting (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon). Parchment cones are perfect for when you have intricate designs and don’t need a lot of frosting.
- They’re disposable -woot! A definite convenience.
- The ones I purchased were transparent so it was easy to tell at a glance what color was in there when I tinted several colors of icing at a time.
- Clean up is certainly easy.
- They’re inexpensive if you don’t use them often.
- You get a clean one each time. No leftover greasy residue from frosting not being washed off properly.
- In my opinion, the biggest flaw about disposable piping bags is their inherent lack of strength due to the plastic that’s used to make them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pushed my finger right through the flimsy plastic while squeezing out frosting. Other times, the frosting would sneak it’s way between the coupler and the bag. Granted, I should have used a softer frosting or a larger tip so I wasn’t squeezing so hard, but I was still learning that disposable bags were not my friend. Putting my finger through the bags or frosting squishing out from all the wrong places caused frustrating time delays. I had to scoop out the frosting from the bag into yet another disposable bag. Wilton claims their disposable decorating bags can handle the pressure. However, the disposable bags I purchased from Michael’s were made by Wilton…. Sorry
CharlieWilton. To be fair, I found numerous positive reviews about their plastic decorating bags.
- Disposable bags are not environmentally friendly.
- They aren’t as easy to use because disposable plastic bags are not flexible and have a very stiff feel when filled.
- Disposable bags tend to run on the small side (8″, 10″, & 12″ generally, although I have seen 16″) This means you constantly have to stop and reload it with frosting, which is annoying and wastes time.
- Disposable are expensive in the long run (if you use a lot of bags) because they are thrown away and have to be purchased again and again.
- They can slip out of your hands.
Reusable pastry bags
- Some people wash them in the dishwasher, but I haven’t personally had success with doing this. However, I do prefer to wash them by hand and using Dawn dish washing liquid really cuts through the grease.
- They are more flexible. Especially the Ateco Plastic coated fabric ones.
- You can probably get about 100 uses out of each featherweight bag.
- The plastic coated fabric bags last a really, really long time.
- Unless you have lots of these, you”ll have to wash out the bag after each use with hot soapy water, or when you want to change colors.
- They are more expensive than disposable bags.
- White featherweight bags can stain. Especially when filling them with red or black tinted frosting.
- The plastic coated fabric bags can be a bit bulky to work with.
With experience I can handle all of the bags equally well and I keep them all on hand for different reasons. I think everyone should try both the disposable and reusable bags to get the feel of each one and try them again as their level of experience increases. Once you know your way around each kind of bag, use what suits you best! When I started, I purchased disposable piping bags. They didn’t cost a lot and I didn’t want an expensive learning experience. Then, I moved on to the featherweight bags, which are usually made out of spun polyester. I bought about 10 Magic Line 12″ bags from a restaurant supply store in town. They have a great, soft feel in my hand. I’ve heard of people lining their featherweight bags with a smaller plastic disposable bag. Not only does the featherweight feel better against your hand, but doubling the bags cuts down on hand heat transferring to the frosting and potentially melting it. Plus, clean up’s a snap! Once I got the feel of the featherweight bags, I purchased an 18″ plastic coated canvas bag from Ateco. I was so pleased with this bag. It was a larger bag so it hold more frosting and I didn’t feel like I was forever refilling it. If I had to choose one bag as my favorite, it would be my reusable plastic coated bag by Ateco.