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is half and half the same as single cream?

  • d
  • drdawn Jan 8, 2006 11:26 PM
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I've just moved to the US from Britain. There we have single cream and double cream, double being the fattier of the two and capable of being whipped. Is half and half single cream, or is there light cream vs heavy cream--I'm assuming the heavy cream here is indeed double cream???

I am confused as to what constitutes the respective halves.

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  1. d
    Das Ubergeek

    Here's the table by milkfat content; single cream is the same as light cream, though light cream is almost universally unavailable these days. You may need to contact an actual dairy.

    "Half-and-half" refers to half whipping cream, half nonfat (skimmed) milk. (0% + 30%)/2 = 15% = half-and-half

    US:

    Nonfat milk: 0%-1%
    1% milk: 1%-2%
    Lowfat milk: 2%-4%
    Whole milk: 4%
    Half-and-half: 12%-15%
    Light cream: 18%-30% (generally unavailable)
    Whipping cream: 30%-36%
    Heavy whipping cream: 36%-44%
    Manufacturer's cream: 44%+

    UK:

    Skimmed milk: 0%
    Low-fat milk: 2%
    Homo milk: 4%
    Half cream: 12%
    Single cream: 18%
    Whipping cream: 35%
    Double cream: 48%

    14 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      If you're in the NY area, light cream is available in every supermarket I shop in.

      1. re: coll

        It seems that we in the Northeast can readily get light (single) cream, but that it is not readily available in other parts of the country, especially California (IIRC from prior threads on this subject).

        I always have heavy (or whipping, if fresher) cream on hand to dilute with 1% milk (which is what I normally drink) to create whatever level of milk/cream I need. For example, I prefer a rich whole milk for cereal (and, IIRC, half-and-half is somtimes called cereal cream in Canada) and certain other things. I created a little spreadsheet to calculate the ratios (how many teaspoons or tablespoons of cream to ounces of milk), and presto, it's a piece of cake. A lot easier than trying have all different sorts of dairy around.

        1. re: Karl S

          care to share the conversions?

          1. re: mark

            I'll have to remember to do that at a time I can access the spreadsheet.

            1. re: Karl S.

              thanks... i'd really appreciate it.

              1. re: mark

                Let's see how it formats....

                Add the following to 1 cup of skim milk to approximate 1 cup of

                1.5t heavy cream= 1% milk
                1T heavy cream= 2% milk
                2T heavy cream= whole milk
                5T 1t heavy cream= half-&-half
                9T heavy cream= light cream
                1T light cream= 1% milk
                1T 2t light cream= 2% milk
                3T light cream= whole milk
                5 oz light cream= half-&-half
                2T half & half= 1% milk
                3T half & half= 2% milk
                4T half & half= whole milk

                1. re: Karl S

                  thanks... that will come in handy

                  1. re: Karl S

                    In the resort areas of Mexico it is almost impossible to find half and half or coffee cream but whipping cream is often available. So we buy the whipping cream and dilute it with water to produce an equivalent half and half.
                    So Karl all you really need to stock is the whipping cream and a new spread sheet for water.

                    1. re: Tom

                      It's not the same for most uses (coffee disguises how it's not, especially if you are adding sugar anyway). You don't have enough milk solids (lactose, among other things) that way.

            2. re: Karl S

              Light cream is easily available here in the Chicago area.

              1. re: Kimm

                Can't find it here CA in regular supermarkets. These markets also don't sell coffee-milk syrups or freshly sliced sandwich-style "big" pepperoni among other things.

                1. re: gp

                  What's "coffee-milk syrup"?

                  1. re: gp

                    Coffee syrup is used to make coffee milk. Coffee milk is the official state drink of Rhode Island. You can buy coffee syrup in eastern Mass. too but probably not much farther from RI than that.

                    It's now made by one company, Autocrat, Inc., under three labels: Autocrat (motto: A Swallow Will Tell You), Eclipse (motto: You'll smack your lips when it's Eclipse), and Coffee Time. All three labels appear to have not be changed since the 1950s. Autocrat bought the ccompanies that made the other two but has kept the different recipes.

                    Coffee syrup is how Rhode Islanders turn their kids into coffee addicts. When I was a wee lad my Great Aunt Pearl used to make us RI coffee milkshakes (milk and syrup, no ice cream; ice cream turns a milkshake into a cabinet).

                    True story: a few years ago, I had VA license plate COFE MLK. One day I was stopped by some folks who turned out to be from RI and they had a case of coffee syrup in their trunk!

                    Autocrat has a superb Web site. Learn all about coffee syrup and buy any of the three kinds!

                    Link: http://www.autocrat.com/cart/index.cfm

                    1. re: Bob W.

                      "Coffee syrup is how Rhode Islanders turn their kids into coffee addicts."

                      I'm a coffee-milk person, but rarely have coffee (1-2x/mo). Learned about coffee milk when I moved from CT to southeastern MA for college.

                      My wife drinks several cups of coffee/day, but detests coffee milk (MS transplant). Difference probably comes down to where I like my coffee light with one sugar. She only drinks it black.

                      Same holds for coffee ice cream, candies, etc. I enjoy such, she, not so much.

                      For the record, Starbucks has a bottled coffee milk product - absolutely terrible.

                      That said (only RID'rs will understand), my preferred lunch is two all the way with a medium coffee milk. It's amusing how it's only available in about a 50 square mile area.

                      Then again, there must be a reason why RI has the highest per capita number of Dunkin Donuts (It's certainly NOT for the donuts).

          2. for simplicity's sake:

            british double = u.s. heavy
            british single = u.s. light
            british semi-skimmed = u.s. 2% fat milk
            british regular milk = u.s. whole milk
            british skimmed = u.s. skimmed.

            i believe (could be wrong, other hounds will know)half and half contains half whole milk and half light cream.

            as an american living in the UK, i've had a bit of a time getting used to the british versions! but i love the extra thick versions of single and double cream available here. we don't have those in the US.

            1. When purchasing cream, avoid ultra-pasturized which is a terrible, terrible product. It tastes off and it doesn't whip well.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JudiAU

                It's so hard to find cream that isn't utra-pized. It's not only tasteless, it doesn't make good creme fraiche because every bit of good living stuff in it has been killed when it gets cooked.

              2. I've never heard it called cereal cream here in Canada?