Half and Half

Have you ever stood in a coffee shop line and overheard someone else's order and then you're like, "What was that? Why does their order sound so long for just 1 cup?" I had those instances and the most I've heard was, "Half and half." Even on the grocery shelves, I saw one the other day and since I was in a hurry, I didn't get a chance to investigate it right then and there.

It made me think more about what half and half is. It doesn't seem to me like an actual word but something used to describe a measurement perhaps?

Yes, I found that it's correct. I went to consult the almighty internet to answer all these questions in my head. I'll share the things I've learned here so here we go!

What is Half and Half?

Half and Half

Half and half pertains to a mixture with equal parts. When you go into a store and ask for it, you'll see that it's an actual beverage product. It can vary from a mixture of dairy, soft drinks, or alcohol.

Most of the time, half and half refers to the mixture of whole milk and light cream. It's richer in flavor than normal milk but lighter in texture compared to a cream.

Half and half contains more fat content than whole milk, but you can't whip it like heavy cream. It doesn't have any sweetener added so it's not as drinkable as other dairy beverages.

What is Half and Half Used for?

This equal-part mixture of whole milk and light cream called half and half is one of the ingredients in your refrigerator that you can use all around. It can be mixed with your coffee or cocoa drink to make it creamier and tastier. It's also used with baking as a substitute for milk and making pan sauces thicker and more delectable.

Depending on your taste, it's safe to drink on its own. If you're used to drinking skim milk, you may find it a bit richer in flavor that it doesn’t necessarily need any added sugar.

What Coffee Drink Uses Frothed Half and Half?

Cafe Breve


Half and half can definitely be frothed. One signature coffee drink that uses frothed half and half is the Cafe Breve. It's a cappuccino variant wherein half and half froth is used instead of frothed milk. It's creamier and produces a thicker foam on top. Cafe breve has more fat and cholesterol content than a normal latte or cappuccino. Some prefer it as it is.

Cafe Breve is usually considered a dessert beverage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have it as a morning coffee. 

Heavy Cream vs. Half-and-Half vs. Coffee Creamer: What's the Difference?

What Is Half and Half

Okay, so you're reading about half-and-half related to coffee and you see these other types of dairies that can be used as well. There are certain brews that are best used with heavy cream, coffee creamer, and half-and-half. These three options also have varying nutrient content and use.

In its most basic aspect, they're all very similar in terms of Here's what differs them from each other:


Heavy Cream


Among these three, heavy cream has the highest fat content and the most calories. Its texture is very thick and the taste is rich and creamy.

Heavy cream is a product of separating the layer of fat that comes up from the fresh milk. It has a lot of uses in the kitchen like an ingredient to make butter, ice cream, sour cream, and a thickener for cream-based sauces or dishes.

If you're thinking of making whipped cream at home, heavy cream is the number one ingredient for it. It's an all-purpose cream.


Half-and-half


Half and half is the in-between type of cream. For dishes that need cream but not too thick, this is the best choice. It's mostly used for drinks and some pastry recipes.

It has the whole taste of milk but with a thicker consistency. Half and half is a mixture of half part light cream and half part whole milk. It has less fat content and calories than heavy cream.


Coffee Creamer

 
Coffee creamer is usually used to enhance the flavor of a beverage. Compared to the other two, the coffee creamer is dairy-free and is basically made up of sugar, vegetable oil, and water. It also depends on the manufacturer if they have added or taken out some other ingredients.

The fat and calorie content of coffee creamer are almost the same as the half and half or less, and there are different varieties of it like powdered, fat-free, sugar-free, and flavored creamers.

3 Substitutes for Half-and-Half

While it's possible to run out of half and half in your refrigerator, I doubt you don't have basic dairy products available in your kitchen. You can definitely make your own half and half at home with these substitutes:

Whole Milk and Heavy Cream

  • Have your whole milk and heavy cream ready.
  • Mix ¾ cup whole milk and ¼ cup heavy cream together until it's creamy and luscious.
  • This substitute is one of the top recommended recipes for making homemade half and half because of its similarity in terms of consistency and taste.
  • Imagine a diluted heavy cream but better.

Whole Milk and Butter

  • Prepare your whole milk and melted butter. It’s best to keep them both warm for it to mix well.
  • Combine 1 cup of whole milk with 3 teaspoons of melted butter. Really take time in mixing them together as butter tends to float on top.
  • This substitute is a bit hard to manage as milk and butter become separate layers after a while.
  • The use of butter for a half and half substitute is not really recommended if you’re planning to use it with drinks like coffee. Unless you have a thing with coffee with butter.
  • This is okay with being used in pastries. 

Low-Fat Milk and Heavy Cream

  • If you only got low-fat milk readily available in your kitchen, you can use it with heavy cream to make your own half and half.
  • Mix ⅔ cup low-fat milk together with ⅓ cup heavy cream.
  • Don’t expect to have a high-fat content for this substitute as it only contains 10-12 percent of it.
  • The taste will be similar to a store-bought half and half.

How to Froth Half and Half: The Method

Froth Half and Half

Thinking about froth in your coffee and you’ve got half and half, right in front of your face? You can definitely use it.

Let’s get started with frothing!

Here are the steps in making your own frothed half and half:

Fill Your Milk Jug

This is simple yet important in making froth. You don’t want to be making it on a plate so get yourself a good milk jug and fill it up just right.

You need to have a little space for when the half and half expands.

Stretching

This process is where you introduce air into the liquid. Keep the steam wand just below the half and half’s surface for 5 seconds and see it form little bubbles.

Spinning

In this step, you get to immerse the steam wand into half and half. It will create a whirlpool effect and to make this process effective, it’s best to tilt the jug a little.

Keep in mind the temperature. Be careful not to exceed 160 degrees F or else you might burn the frothed milk.

Don’t worry if you don’t get this right the first time, it takes time and practice.

Resting and Polishing

Once you’re done with the above steps, disperse any remaining large bubbles from your frother half and half by thumping your milk jug on the table. Just one big thump is enough.

Have it rest so that it thickens a bit and polish it by gently swirling the half and half around the milk jug.

Pouring

This one will be tricky. Pour the steamed half and half first into your espresso by holding the foam back. Then pour the foam slowly and gently on top of your drink.

Frothing half and half is almost the same as frothing milk so be sure to try it out!

Summary

I had fun writing this article. It’s good to know about half and half when you’re just starting with your coffee adventure. It’s really good to mix with coffee and will surely give you a unique and new coffee experience.

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