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About six years ago we had our kitchen ripped out and a new one fitted and when it was finished I wanted to have some new equipment to go with my nice new kitchen so I went onto the Lakeland site and spent far too much money and one of the most useful items I bought was this pack of two toastabags.
They were quite expensive in my opinion at nearly £7 for the pair but as I had given my electric sandwich toasty maker to my daughter I thought this might enable me to make my favourite toasties without the hassle of having to store an extra piece of electric equipment. At the time I found these at Lakeland I had not seen the cheaper ones at the pound shop and I thought they were an amazing idea.
These are made from a pretty tough plastic silicone fabric similar to the liners that Lakeland make for ovens. At the time I bought these those silicon baking moulds were pretty new and the idea of a plastic feeling envelope going into a toaster was hard to believe.
The name 500 apparently means that they can be used 500 times. I haven't counted how many times mine have been used but over the last six years with all the family coming and going itkmust be a good few times.
"The secret to their longevity lies in the fact they're made from the same material as our Magic Non-Stick Liner, meaning each bag can be reused up to an incredible 500 times... that's a lot of toasties!
The plastic pockets are a solid black colour and feel pretty strong. They adequately hold a sandwich of any normal sliced bread I find so long as you don't put tons of filler in between. The idea is that you make a sandwich as you normally would with the butter or spread on the inner sides of the sandwich unlike when you use a toastie machine and you have to spread the butter on the outsides. Obviously what you put into the sandwich is you personal choice but I would advise against lettuce or anything with mayonnaise as in my view lettuce cooked is awful and mayonnaise hot in not so nice either.
In the pack you get two of these pockets which measure 15 x 20cm (6" x 8") and an instruction sheet. I keep mine in a plastic wallet in one of my drawers as I know where to find them. I also have a couple of the cheap ones from JML too so when I say these are much stronger I do know what the others are like. I was so impressed with the Lakeland ones that when I spotted these for only £1 in poundland I bought them for my sons. When they moved home they ended up leaving them here.
These pockets are easy to keep clean, you can just wash them normally with other washing up and these Lakeland ones can even be washed in the dishwasher. Strangely they are also microwave safe though why you would ever need to put them in a microwave beats me but maybe other people might find this necessary. According to Lakeland they are also freezer safe too though again I have never felt the need to put mine in the freezer and can't see why anyone else would but in case you feel the need rest assured that you can.
Now about the size of this bag. I find that I can fit most sliced bread into the pocket but I have read on the Lakeland site that people have trouble fitting sliced bread into them and they have had to cut part of the bread slice off. I have not had this trouble and use Hovis mostly but I do find that I have to be careful how full I make my sandwiches as they are quite tricky to fit in if you make them too fat.
Another tip I would suggest is not to try to make toasties with filling that is rather wet like tuna and mayonnaise as they are harder to get into the bags and the filling tends to ooze out of the sides. The difference between these and electric sandwich makers is that the edges of the toasties do not get sealed; they are just toasted sandwiches they come out toasted but not pressed and sealed.
I have found that cheese, tomato and ham works especially well and for those sandwiches I do not even need to use butter or spread as the cheese melts in to the other ingredients really well. Cranberry and brie also works well but is quite rich and I find I need a salad with that flavour.
As you can imagine I really do recommend these toast bags from Lakeland as I have had them over six years and used them regularly and they look just as good as when I first bought them. By contrast the cheaper ones look stained and are looking well used and I have not had them more than a year. I also find the Lakeland bags cook the sandwich through more thoroughly and the filling gets hot through whereas the cheaper version speedily toasts the outside and the filling is often not heated through.
All in all I think these are worth the £6.45 price tag as they have lasted well and still show no signs of wear even after six years of use.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
I'm a big fan of cheese toasties but the toasting bag was quite literally falling apart and the whole process was messy and not very productive. I'm not entirely sure where we got our previous toasting bag but it was on the cheap side and not very sturdy. After a month or two, it started to tear whenever toasties were brought in and out of the bag and couldn't withstand having any water in it to clean it out afterwards. Not long after the first tear appeared, the bag started to rip completely down the seam and was effectively useless. I set about looking for a new one but couldn't find any in Wilkinsons or Argos so eventually, I decided to try Lakeland. This isn't a shop that I normally frequent as things tend to be a bit pricey but having got so frustrated with a cheaper toasting bag, I figured it wouldn't hurt to go for a more expensive option this time around.
It's a dark grey shade and on first glance, it doesn't look too dissimilar to the previous bag that fell apart (aside from being a different colour). On closer inspection though, the material looks sturdier and more robust, and therefore probably more worthy of its '500' title.
It's a lot more sturdy and robust than its cheap predecessor, to the point where it's a bit difficult to fit easily into our particular toaster without some prodding around to make sure that it's sitting as far down into the toaster as possible. Once this is done, it's fine and I've noticed that my toasties burn less than before, presumably thanks to the thicker material. With the cheaper bag, the toast would often end up chargrilled due to the fact that the cheese struggled to melt very quickly but this seems less of a problem here.
One word of caution when using these bags - they get very hot in the toaster, which is a bit of a nightmare when you're getting them out. As I've already mentioned, the bag isn't a particularly great fit in our toaster and the very top of the bag doesn't really overheat and is easy enough to get out but if your toaster allows a snugger fit, you might struggle to get the bag out due to the heat. Although I can get the bag out personally, I've noticed that the parts of the bag that were in direct contact with the heat are a lot hotter than I was used to with my cheaper and thinner bags, strangely enough.
Cleaning isn't a problem as I just swill the bag out with some warm water, turn it inside out and give it a good wipe. Any stuck-on cheese that escaped the toastie comes off easily and it's generally simple to clean, although I must admit that I don't create toasties that are particularly messy so it may be a different story if you were to use more difficult to clean off fillings.
I paid around £6 for a set of two bags, which I hope will keep me going for some time.
These toaster bags are definitely a step up from the cheap alternatives we used to buy. I'm still using the first bag from the set of two and it's not even vaguely ripped yet but I'll definitely be looking to these bags when I need replacements. To be frank, I can be very heavy-handed when getting these out of the toaster or the toasties out of the bag and don't always treat things with the best care so I'm more likely to do damage to a bag like this than most people but so far, even I haven't done so. I'm not sure how accurate the claims that a bag will last for 500 uses (that's a lot of toasties and potential wear and tear!) but so far, I do feel that they're worth the price as they're sturdy and good quality.
One of the simplest foods that everyone seems to enjoy is a toasty now it doesn't matter what your choice of filling is most people seem to like these culinary delights so when my toasty maker gave up the ghost several years ago I knew I needed to find another toasty maker. However my mum suggested I look at the "toastabags 500" from Lakeland as she had found them really good and they certainly take up less room in the kitchen cupboards than a toasty maker and are a dash sight easier to clean so I thought I would give them a try and I have never looked back..
What are they?
These come in packs of two bags from Lakeland for £5.99. They look just like a little plastic black bag with a handle cut out at the top. The material they are made from is a non-stick fabric that is heat-resistant up to an amazing 260°C. It is covered in PTFE now if like me you have no idea what PTFE is a quick search of Google and Wikipedia tells me that this is an abbreviation for "polytetrafluoroethene, a saturated fluorocarbon polymer". Still none the wiser I wasn't. Well one of the main makers of this is DuPont and they call it Teflon! So basically it is a highly slippery surface that food glides of and can be heated to high temperatures without changing shape or leaking into the food stuff hence its use of being made into a bag to make a toasty.
Now Lakeland claim that these toastabags last for 500 times of use I can honestly say I have no idea how many toasty's we have made with ours but they are still going strong after about 2 years with no ill effects to either the bags or ourselves.
How to use these to make your toasty is simple you basically make your sandwich up with what ever treats you fancy, my personal favourite is ham and cheese. You butter your bread as you would any normal sandwich and put these into the bags. You then drop the bags into your toaster handle side up and cook the toasty as you would any normal slice of bread in your toaster and then once cooked you glide your sandwich out of the bag on to your plate and enjoy Simplez.
Over the time of using these bags I have found that if I want the cheese to melt in the same way that it does in a normal toasty maker then it is better to grate the cheese rather than slice it as this seems to get the cheese to melt better. The bag itself is a bit small I think so if you buy large "Tin" loafs of bread you sometimes have to cut the top of the bread off if you don't want a bit of uncooked bread at the top. I personally don't mind this and find most types of bread fit into this well other than these tin style loafs. We have a Dualit toaster and this comes with a cage for some bread items and I find that this helps me lift the bag in and out of the toaster as the bag itself gets very hot. I also use the Dualit cage to squish down the contents of my sandwich if I have been a bit generous in my filling choices and this seems to also help cook the toasty better as it is a bit thinner.
Though these bags are dishwasher safe I haven't tried them in one as we don't have a dishwasher but I personally find them really easy to clean. I tend to let the bag cool down first before washing as this then lets any cheese that has escaped cool down so it can then just glide out of the bag into the bin. The bag then gets turned inside out and washed with hot water and washing up liquid I never need to scour this and a quick wash over with a dishcloth is generally sufficient to clean this of any crumbs and grease. I then let it air dry as I find this suits the bag better as other wise even with a tea towel you just seem to push the water droplets around the surface
One of the few problems with the bags is they get very hot in the toaster and if you don't have a toaster cage then you will need to use a cloth to lift the bags out of the toaster and to help drop the sandwich out of the bag on to your plate.
The toasty purists in the world may not like the toasty from this as there is no sealing in of the filling into the sandwich and none of the crunchy sealed crusts you get from a toasty maker. But I personally still think you get a great toasty from these bags with the added benefits of none of the horrid washing down of the toasty machine after you have made a sandwich. Equally you have none of the wait for the machine to heat up and more importantly in my small kitchen they take up leas room.
So overall I would definitely recommend these toastabags they make a nice toasted sandwich. My husband would also have me also point out that he finds you can use the bags to heat up sausage rolls and pasties. From the Lakeland website as well other people have commented that if you have some one who is a coeliac these bags are also useful for making toast so they don't get any normal bread toast crumbs on their toast.