Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Struggle:

Finesse, finesse, finesse, that’s what cooking is about. The constant advancement towards the mythical land of perfection. Everything we do is about refinement in our techniques, tools, and recipes. If there is an easier and better way to do something we will find it as chefs. Even the most common tasks can be refined. This brings me to our topic, superbags. The simple task of straining a liquid has been done for years in cumbersome metal strainers. Don’t get me wrong, I love my chinos and chinos mousseline. Although storing them can be an issue in smaller kitchens. Superbags are a great alternative to just about any strainer. The only issue people seem to have is deciding which size to purchase. 


“How do I choose the right superbag based on micron size?” 


The Micron Mystery

Superbags come in four different micron sizes, 100, 250, 400, 800. Each mesh bag then can be purchased in one of four sizes: small (8 inch), medium (14 inch), large (16.5 inch), and extra large (32 inch). The biggest difference in the bag sizes is the small and medium will have a 4 inch opening at the top and the large has a 7 inch opening. Small and medium sized bags work best for the home cook while the large and extra large are good for any professional kitchen. On top of all this they are machine washable and can resist temperatures up to 325F. All this is great but what can they strain out?


The issue most people have is the micron size. To the average person micron size means nothing. Microns are not a common day to day measurement we all use. I’ll do my best to help you understand here. One micron is one millionth of a meter. So you can imagine fine 100 microns is. Another comparison is that a human hair on average is about 100 microns wide.


Here are some handy guidelines: 

  • 100 microns will allow you to strain any liquid and remove particles, also it will allow you to finely dust powdered sugar and other similar powders. If you want the finest strainer possible this is the strainer for you
  • 250 microns is obviously larger but relative to the liquids we will be straining it’s still unmatched. The 250 micron superbag will allow some fine particles through, though it is still finer than most strainers
  • 400 microns is great for sifting dry ingredients. The large bits in coffee grounds are about 400 microns for comparison
  • 800 microns is great for fast straining and removing large pieces of ingredients. Stocks and sauces will pass through easily all while catching most of the particles. 


So what would work best for you and your recipe? Do you need to refine the recipe and remove as many impurities as possible? Then maybe the 100 micron is for you. Do you need to quickly strain a stock or sauce that has large particles, try the 400-800 micron superbag. Whatever it is you need hopefully these tips will help you find the right superbag for you.