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I've never tasted or seen "hoop cheese," a product that appears to have been made on a small scale years ago, and was popular in the South.

Is it possible to make this cheese by pressing and waxing salted curds made by a method similar to making paneer? I've done this before and it's rather easy, heat a gallon of whole milk slowly to the right temperature and add white vinegar. The strained, pressed curds make up paneer.

Do I need rennet to make the curds?

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not a big deal kiamlaluno, but one of your edits made the whole question have less of a global world-view and more US-centric one. –  OpenID-test2 Jun 17 '11 at 2:10
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I have also not tasted hoop cheese. All descriptions of it that I can find describe it as unsalted, pressed cottage cheese.

While you can definitely press out extra liquid from acid set cheeses, the proteins are not as firmly set and the texture is going to be very different.

I think you will find that using rennet is not much more difficult and opens a wide variety of cheese experiments.

Junket also provides quite a few recipes and I have had success with many of them:
http://www.junketdesserts.com/cheeserecipes.aspx
This recipe for cottage cheese uses the bacteria in (fresh) buttermilk to acidify the milk. Then with the addition of rennet a curd forms that is much firmer than what you get with acid alone.

Making their cottage cheese recipe and pressing it into a hoop should be easy enough for you. I use the end cap of 6" PVC pipe with holes drilled in it as my mold and bungee cords for the press.

For an excellent page on home cheese production in general check out this page:
http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/Cheese_course/Cheese_course.htm

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My first experiment with rennet was a failure. You also need buttermilk or something to culture the milk, an added step. --- By multitasking, I've made really easy inexpensive cheese via acid-precipitated milk curds, but they lack flavor and keeping qualities. Thanks for your answer. –  OpenID-test2 Jul 30 '11 at 16:45
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