Half-and-half is milk and cream mixed in equal parts, and it’s made up of half whole milk and half heavy cream. This has an impact not only on the taste but also on how it performs in recipes. You use this when you need something richer than milk but not as thick as cream. It can be found in silky sauces, soups, and desserts.
Many prefer half-and-half in their Coffee because it achieves the ideal blend of creaminess and thinness. Half-and-half from the store has been homogenized, which means it’s been emulsified, so it won’t separate when mixed with other ingredients. Half-and-half has a thick, creamy milk flavor, and it has the potential to be much tastier than milk. It’s not sweet since there are no sweeteners in it, and it’s rarely eaten on its own, like cream.
What is Half and Half?
The term “half-and-half” refers to a mixture of equal parts milk and cream. Half-and-half has between 10 and 18 percent fat, but heavy cream has at least 36 percent fat. Half-and-half can be used in recipes. However, it can’t be used to make whipped cream due to the decreased fat level since it won’t maintain its peaks. It also won’t thicken a sauce or heavy or whipped cream.
As a coffee creamer, half-and-half is often used. Tea has historically been served with milk because it has less dissolved solids and is thinner. However, many coffee consumers believe that half-and-half gives just the perfect body and richness to a strong cup of Coffee.
A half-and-half carton from the grocery shop must be in the refrigerator immediately. The tiny half-and-half cartons at the neighborhood coffee shop are sitting out since they are shelf-stable and don’t need to be refrigerated; they can last up to six months at room temperature. Check the expiration date, though.
You may come across a variation called “fat-free half-and-half,” which is puzzling given that half-and-half is made with milk and cream. Corn syrup and thickeners are used to replace the milk fat in the fat-free version, and it’s not the healthiest option.
Here are the substitutes for half-and-half:
- You can make half-and-half if you have whole milk and heavy cream on hand. Combine 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a measuring cup (whipping cream). Use this mixture as you would if you had half-and-half, such as in coffee or tea or while making homemade ice cream.
- Another effective technique to produce a half-and-half alternative is to mix equal parts milk and light cream (12 cups each). This is the same half-and-half formula, but because home chefs are more likely to have heavy cream on hand than light cream, we believe the first technique is the best.
- You can also make half-and-half with skim milk. To achieve a smooth substitute, use 2/3 cup low-fat milk and 1/3 cup heavy cream instead of equal parts milk and cream.
- Evaporated milk is another good half-and-half substitute. Replace half-and-half with an equal amount of evaporated milk; for example, if your recipe asks for 12 cups of half-and-half, replace it with 12 cups of evaporated milk.
Cooking with Half-and-Half
When a recipe calls for cream but doesn’t specify what kind, use heavy cream; its higher fat content makes it more stable in sauces, so it won’t curdle or form a skin on top when cooked. When beaten, heavy cream holds firm peaks as well. When half-and-half is used in a recipe, it’s usually to achieve a creamy texture without using the total fat or richness of the cream.
Cooks at restaurants utilize a product called manufacturing cream, which has a fat content of 40 to 45 percent. It will not curdle if you bring it to a full boil. It also has a terrific flavor and adds a lot of richness to recipes. (It’s also one of the reasons why eating out is so unhealthy for your figure!) Manufacturing cream is rarely found in supermarkets, but restaurants order the case.
How to Make Half-and-Half?
You can purchase half-and-half at most grocery stores in the US, but the good news is that there’s no need to buy it if you already have heavy cream and milk. Here are three options to make it:
- Combine equal parts whole milk and heavy cream (or light cream). This is the method we used in culinary school, and while it gets you a slightly higher fat concentration (21%), it works great, and it’s always easy to do the math, no matter how much the recipe requires. So if a recipe calls for 1 cup half-and-half, you’ll need 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup cream.
- Combine 75% whole milk and 25% heavy cream (or light cream). This is the most common method, and this ratio lowers the fat content slightly to make it closer to the store version. So if a recipe calls for 1 cup, you’ll need 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream.
- Combine 2/3 cup skim or low-fat milk and 1/3 cup heavy cream (or light cream). I often use this version since I start my days with a few low-fat lattes. I left the ratios out here since it makes the math look more confusing than it is!
Can you Freeze Half-and-Half?
Although half-and-half can be frozen, it is not always recommended. Freezing alters the chemical makeup of substances, so the texture and flavor will differ even after they’ve been thawed. Half-and-half that has been frozen and thawed will probably work in Coffee, but we don’t advocate using it in creamy desserts like panna cotta.
To Freeze Leftover Half-and-Half
- Pour into an ice cube tray. Cover. Freeze overnight.
- Transfer frozen cubes into a freezer-safe bag labeled with the date.
- Freeze up to three months.
How Long does Half-and Half Last?
The problem with half-and-half is as follows: Because most recipes don’t call for the entire container, you’re likely to end up with a partially filled carton in your fridge. It may come with a use-by date, but most of the time, you’ll merely be given a sell-by date. So, when is it time to dump it? Half-and-half usually lasts about a week after being opened. Meanwhile, an unopened container should last three to five days after the best-by date. If anything smells rancid or “odd” in any manner, it’s preferable to err on the side of caution and toss it out – when in doubt, toss it out.
Heavy Cream vs. Half-and-Half vs. Coffee Creamer: What’s the Difference?
Heavy cream, half-and-half, and coffee creamer are distinctly different products but share similar contents and uses.
Heavier, also known as heavy whipping, is the thick, high-fat cream that rises to the top of fresh milk. During the production process, it is skimmed off. Many food manufacturers speed up this process by utilizing separators, which help separate milk and cream faster.
The cream is classified based on fat level, and most countries have particular definitions for what constitutes heavy cream. Although the cream is usually the only component in heavy cream, thickeners such as gellan gum are sometimes added to improve the consistency.
Half-and-half is a dairy product, similar to heavy cream. It’s prepared by blending equal parts cream and whole milk, yielding a lighter, lower-fat product than heavy cream. It also has a significantly lighter flavor and mouthfeel, making it suitable for various recipes. In addition to milk and cream, half-and-half may contain ingredients like carrageenan, which improve the finished product’s texture.
Half-and-half without fat is also commonly available and is often prepared by blending skim milk with corn syrup instead of cream, resulting in a fat-free product with a greater added sugar content.
Coffee creamer, unlike heavy cream and half-and-half, is dairy-free. Most coffee creamers are created from water, sugar, and vegetable oil, though the exact components vary by brand.
Coffee creamer is typically highly processed and contains a lot of sugar. A single serving of certain popular coffee creamers can contain up to 5 grams of added sugar; more than a teaspoon of sugar is in that amount.
For reference, the American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than six teaspoons (24 grams) of added sugar per day, and men consume no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams).
Carrageenan, cellulose gum, and artificial flavorings are typical ingredients used to improve the taste and texture of coffee creamers.
However, there are various types of coffee creamer, each with its own set of ingredients. Sugar-free, fat-free, powdered, or flavored versions are available.
They Taste Different
These ingredients taste different, in addition to their nutritional distinctions. Heavy cream is thick and flavorful, but it’s not overly sweet due to the lack of additional sugar. Half-and-half has a similar flavor to milk, but it’s creamier and richer. Coffee creamer contains a lot of sugar and is often sweeter than half-and-half or heavy cream. Coffee creamer comes in various flavors, including French vanilla, butter pecan, and pumpkin spice.
Where to Buy Half-and-Half?
Half-and-half can be purchased in every grocery store’s dairy section. It normally comes in pint and quart quantities, so double-check the recipe before buying if you’re going to use it in a recipe. Individual, shelf-stable mini cups are typically available in packages of at least 100 at restaurant supply stores or warehouse warehouses.
Half-and-half should be stored in the refrigerator because it is a dairy product. Most products are ultra-pasteurized, ensuring a long shelf life, but always double-check expiration dates. Mini cups that are shelf-stable don’t need to be refrigerated.
Mini Moo’s Half and Half
- Ideal at the office or on the go
- Made with milk and cream, land O Lakes mini moo’s half and half creamer singles are convenient for enjoying a perfect cup of coffee anywhere.
- Material Type: Plastic
In the United States, the word “half and half” frequently appears in culinary and baking recipes. However, it is not widely known outside of the country (or the term refers to something completely different). When it occurs in a recipe, it can be a little perplexing to figure out what it is.
In the United States, “half and half” refers to a mixture of half heavy cream and half whole milk. Per tablespoon of half-and-half, there are roughly 20 calories. This is less than heavy cream (approximately 51 calories per tablespoon) but more than whole milk (about nine calories per tablespoon).
Although fat-free half-and-half is available, be aware that it is not necessarily healthier than full-fat half-and-half. When a carton indicates it’s fat-free, it’s typically skim milk blended with corn syrup instead of cream, which results in a reduced-fat but higher sugar final product.