Product Type: Other Brands Kitchenware
Newest Review: ... can be removed from the toaster with ease. You make a sandwich such as cheese and ham for example and if you would prefer to have the sa... more
A Toast to Toastabags!
Member Name: Nar2
Date: 15/05/08, updated on 15/05/08 (853 review reads)
Advantages: Cheaper than JML's version. Great for dieters! Easy to clean, easy to use.
Disadvantages: Doesnt fit all toasters; not insulated. Only one bag per product. Poundstretchers only.
The joy of going on a diet these days usually means bread has to be cut back in some form of another, and for most people who own a toastie maker, it spells the end of toasties which have to be prepared coating the bread in oil or butter fat. No matter what the brand says in the user manual if the toastie machine has non-stick pads, it's ironic that you still have to apply butter or oil on the outer parts of the bread to minimise the product sticking to the plates. Although I am not on a calorie controlled diet, since my cholesterol test in March proved to be of a normal level, I decided from then on to keep it that way.
In an effort to make things healthier I've inherited my parents' juicer, have a new George Foreman fat grill and with the purchase of a secondary blender/smoothie maker I am living out my days eating and drinking as healthily as possible; even the bread I use is lower in fat. Toastabags at the time looked like another welcomed oil-free purchase and at Woolworths the JML range of kitchen products includes Toastabags but at £3-99 apiece I consider this expensive just for one bag.
Whilst walking around Poundstretchers however reveals a different story, because whilst they have JML products too, they also stock other company products, and this product being the original Toastabag, which comes in a single green and yellow pack costing just 99p for one bag. Now that's more like it! I've ended up buying 4 since realising these are fantastic bags for toasties - a form of sandwich I quite enjoy - and have since bought one pack for friends and family.
Toastabags are so called because they are supposed to be able to seal and press bread and after being installed in a toaster, toast the bread up just like a proper toastie. Whilst there are other ways in which you can use these bags, the first aspect which strikes me is that the bags themselves can hold an average thick to thin slice of bread - up to two infact - despite being overly or under filled with food products such as ham, cheese or any filling you would normally make with a normal toastie machine. The upside is that the bag looks like a normal brown paper bag but closer scrutiny reveals that it mimics the same sort of waxed paper you would find for browning food in the microwave as well as looking and feeling slightly waxy to the touch. This also means that it has a non-stick property on the inside of the bag which limits actual cleaning, although the bags can be washed simply by running under a hot tap and applying washing liquid; putting them in a dishwasher is pointless when washing under a tap is instant and easily done.
Toastabags measure out to be just below 17cm in height and 16cm length. For most people this may look just enough for two slices of bread. I had no worries for the smaller slices of bread used, but I did find it difficult to insert the bags into my cheap toaster because the slots only have a length of 12cm and worried initially that the sides bursting out would catch fire if it accidentally touched the element whilst toasting. The only warning you are given with this product is that it can only be used on toasters that have variable thick/thinness springs and it is easy to see why. On my toaster it has the desired variable thickness/thinness springs but the bag still takes a bit to slide in rather than easily falling in loosely in my mum's Morphy Richards toaster. The upside to this however is that when the bread is actually slid into the bag and inserted into the toaster, the sides which only have the bread are toasted whilst the bag sides at the top and bottom of the bag need to be crushed in so that the bag will fit. The envelope that this product comes in suggests that after just 3 minutes toasties are ready to be eaten and generally with ham and cheese fillings for example I've found that three minutes on the lowest setting of my toaster is more than sufficient for the perfect alternative toastie. When the toasting commences the food product will still receive the same stripes from the element in the normal way that a toaster leaves toast looking toasted but it won't say for example, be able to cut and seal the sandwich of your choice. Once the bread pops up, the general design just looks like two pieces of toast together - but the contents have generally been sealed in at the sides - much more than before when bread has all that air inside it before it toasts up.
So far I have been able to toast up/reheat cold low fat chips, toast up bagels since my toaster doesn't have a bagel reheat grid, croissants and other bread products. I find however that despite the extremely papery thin consistency of the bag's actual lining, any food produce which spills out of whatever you want to toast up never seeps through the paper bag - thanks to the non-stick coating on the inside of the bags here which offers peace of mind. For those with oil and grease worries from reheating cold chips, I get the same soft chips as I did from making them the first time around against hard as stone and too crispy if blitzed in the microwave.
Another downside to these bags is that they are not insulated so they remain hot the moment the toaster pops up. In this respect I use metal or wooden tongs to grab the bags out of the toaster whilst food products are very easy to slip out, again thanks to the non-stick coating. They do have little opening holes that look like your fingers could easily pick the product bag upwards from the toaster and mimic minature shopping bags. But unless you were born with Teflon fingers its best to use a pair of tongs for lifting the bags out of the toaster. But it does appear that this product paper has been used before for other cooking methods. The company responsible for toastabags go under the name of Planit Products and it appears the rest of this paper is used to make other products suitable for use in ovens and cookware. Toastabags are claimed to last 50 times.
For 99p who am I to argue with when a product as surprising as this turns out to be a god send? And you even get a recipe sheet to get you started just incase you don't exactly know what you could prepare using the bags. Having toasties without butter or oil has never been healthier, delicious or cheaper to buy - particularly when JML rip customers off for charging double the price for the same bag. All you need to do now is find a branch shop of Poundstretchers!
Summary: Worth seeking out for if you like Toasties but not the oil on them.
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