General Question

augustlan's avatar

Can I substitute half-and-half for milk in a recipe?

Asked by augustlan (46584 points ) February 8th, 2010

I’d like to make some banana bread DISCLAIMER: From a box mix – not from scratch, and it calls for ¾ cup of milk. I’m completely out of milk, and am seriously snowed in. I do have half-and-half, though. Can I just use that? If so, would it be the same amount? Would I need to water it down or something? What effect, if any, would it have on the finished product?

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16 Answers

Zen_Again's avatar

What’s banana bread disclaimer?

Sounds delish.

Jack79's avatar

actually I don’t know what “half and half” is, but most recipes I know can have “fresh milk” substituted for “half milk-half water” if you’re using evaporated (full fat) milk. If that’s what you mean, then yes. If it’s skimmed, I doubt it will work.

deni's avatar

since half and half is half milk and half cream it seems to me that you would need less because of the cream portion…its more concentrated? im not sure though.

janbb's avatar

I’m sure Harp is typing the definitive response but I’ll just jump in and say; if you’re snowed in, “Go for it. How bad can it be?”

Harp's avatar

You would probably need to add a bit of water. Whole milk is 87% water, and your recipe is counting on having that much water to hydrate the gluten and starch in the flour. Half and half has less water for the same volume because more of its weight is butterfat (about 12% as opposed to 3.5% for whole milk). The extra fat won’t hurt the recipe, but it also won’t hydrate the gluten and starch. Without getting into heavy calculations, I think you’d be safe putting about 3T of water in your measuring cup, then topping off the ¾ cup with half and half.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’d go a little easier on the water. The extra fat in the half and half will make the bread feel very moist when it’s baked. I always use more butter than the recipe because I like the moister feel of the finished product. Add the half and half, see what the dough feels like, and go by feel.

Buttonstc's avatar

Regardless of whether or not you add the extra water ( I would follow Harp’s advice) the overall effect is that it will be that much better tasting.

As many chefs have often observed. Fat=Flavor. Since half and half has more fat than regular milk, then…

Trillian's avatar

Use it, it will be a bit richer. That’s all.

JLeslie's avatar

Sure. You can use a little less half and half and add a bit of water (same total liquid) to cut the extra fat that is in the half and half.

nebule's avatar

Sounds yummy, can I come for afternoon tea? xxx

janbb's avatar

Me too, even if I have to shovel my way in, Auggie!

Val123's avatar

I think it would be even better than milk…it would make it creamier and richer!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I throw in with the equal-measure crowd. It will just be a bit richer tasting. If I plow you out, can I have a piece?

JLeslie's avatar

@augustlan Well? Is it yummy?

augustlan's avatar

Haha… I never made it! I might do it tomorrow (later today?). Thanks for all the answers, everyone!

janbb's avatar

What no tea party? And I had on my best bib and tucker, too!

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