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Kefir 'cheese'?

I've been culturing milk kefir for a year or so, using it to make bread. Most of the time I shake it up to mix the curds and whey, which gives the bread a rich, cheesy taste, but I've saved some solids from the last batch, and I'd like to try making the cheese.

We like calzone, but I use cream cheese instead of ricotta, so my question is--can I use the kefir cheese instead of cream cheese or ricotta? My family members will not drink the home cultured kefir, although they will consume the expensive kefir from the store, with sugar and fruit(?) added. I've looked at a couple of blogs touting home-cultured foods, but the bloggers enjoy kefir--I'm pretty sure my family will not be as enthusiastic. (My kids ate home-cultured yogurt when they were young, but now they want the whipped, blended, sweetened, questionably fruity stuff.)

I don't want to ruin a batch of calzone, so I'd probably start with a small amount of kefir mixed with cream cheese, and if that is not detected, work up to a larger amount of kefir.

Any opinions on how the taste of kefir compares? I usually have a holding jar of kefir which has developed a 'bite' or fizz--can I use the solids from that stage? Another question--if the kefir is baked in bread, calzone, lasagne, etc., does it retain any of the probiotic benefits?

Finally, if the lovely person who offered water kefir grains for a SASE a couple of years ago is still reading this forum, will you please email me? We emailed at that time, but I had several extended family emergencies, and didn't follow up. Thank you.

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