Hoop Cheese (also known as Bakers or Red Ring cheese) is a simple, traditional cheese made only from cow's milk, where the whey has been drained out completely and then placed in a round mould called a hoop. Some people call it as Red Ring cheese because of the red wax coating. Though sometimes compared to farmer's cheese, it is different because no cream or salt is added to the cheese. Since the cheese is not aged, the texture remains soft and it spoils very fast.
These days it is very rare to find the cheese commercially because of its neutral taste and short-lived shelf life. It is available in small grocery shops, gas stations and restaurants in the south of United States where the farmer or grocer sells the cheese fresh off the wheel.
Hoop cheese is a mild, slightly salty cheese with a rubbery texture when young which becomes sharp and crumbly if allowed to age. The colour of the pate is rich yellow with a subtle nutty flavour. It is an excellent cooking ingredient that is used to give a creamy texture to the dish without changing the flavour or making it stickier. Use it to make grilled sandwiches, macaroni and cheese or have it with crackers or fruits.
Other American cheeses: