You can usually tell how clean a pastry kitchen is by how well the piping equipment is maintained. In well-managed kitchens, the pastry bags get emptied and cleaned at the end of every shift.
There are places for the bags to hang and dry. The unused tips and couplers are stored on a clean and dry rack. Disposable plastic pastry bags may be used instead of cloth.
Beware of Eggs in Pastry Bags
In less sanitary kitchens, cloth or canvas pastry bags are not emptied and cleaned after every shift, which poses a health risk for consumers, especially if raw eggs are contained within the bag. This may be safe in some parts of the world but in America, conventional U.S. eggs contain high levels of salmonella so fillings and frostings with egg are not safe to leave at room temperature for prolonged periods of time.
Swiss meringue buttercream and Italian meringue buttercream are examples of popular frostings whose egg whites are not cooked to a high enough temperature to remain safe at room temperature. According to the U.S. government’s food safety website, it’s safer to use pasteurized eggs whenever a recipe calls for uncooked egg, but it’s better not to use raw egg at all.
These recipes don’t contain egg
Smooth Buttercream Cake Frosting
Pastry Bag Hygiene
Whether eggs are involved or not, piping bags come in contact with workers’ hands all day and for that reason alone, all pastry bags should be emptied and cleaned after every shift. They should be dried before their next use. I once worked in a bakery that used a swivel towel rack like this to dry pastry bags. The advantages of a swivel towel rack is that it’s affordable and doesn’t take up much space.
Cloth pastry bags eventually grow soiled and moldy, especially when they are not properly cleaned so they must be replaced periodically. Cloth bags are the most likely to weep their contents through the fabric so the bag gets oily, making it harder to hold.
Plastic coated pastry bags are another option although they don’t have the kind of softness that feels right in the hand.
THE SAFE BET: Disposable Pastry Bags
Disposable pastry bags are the most sanitary option. They are cheap and can be bought in large rolls. The cost is negligible, especially since they may be cleaned by hand and reused a few times. I recommend 18” or larger bag.
Parchment Paper Piping Cones Option
For smaller piping jobs, I find it’s easiest to use parchment cones instead.
Watch the VIDEO: Piping with Paper Cones
Tip on Storing Piping Tips
An easy way to store and organize piping tips and couplers is to mount a spool rack on the wall. Make sure to put it in a place where it won’t get bumped.
Tip on Buying Couplers
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