Hoop cheese is a traditional cow's milk cheese that was common in the Southern United States from the early to mid 1900s. It is still available today, although it is much less common. It is a simple cheese prepared by separating the whey from curds. Today, the American Dairy Association has no criteria in place to classify hoop cheese, although it has sometimes been referred to as a type of pot cheese.
Hoop cheese is a simple, traditional fresh cow's milk cheese, prepared by pressing curds until the whey is entirely pressed-out, leaving the final cheese product. This involves the use of a cheese hoop, which consists of a ring with both of the ends opened, which is used to press out and separate the whey from the completed cheese, typically using cheesecloth, whereby the whey drains out through the cloth and the hoop cheese remains atop. Using this preparation method, the cheese is typically pressed into rounds and then wrapped in cheesecloth or parchment paper or sealed in wax. Hoop cheese has been described as a "truly low-fat" product. It has a firm, but not hard, consistency, and has been described as being similar to farmer cheese and as having a creamy texture. In contemporary times, it is sometimes packaged with a coating of red wax.
Hoop cheese can be difficult to find commercially in some areas of the United States, due to the difficulty of automating the manufacturing process.