Several different types of cheese are known as string cheese. It is peelable and when peeled, it does so in strings or strips from the larger cheese.
In Slovakia, a traditional string cheese Korbáčiky is made which is a salty sheep milk cheese, available smoked or unsmoked. Traditionally made by hand pulling steamed sheeps' cheese into strings and braiding them. Machine milk versions are also available.
In Armenia, traditional string cheese is made with a white base. The type of milk used usually comes from an aged goat or sheep depending upon the production methods of the area of choice. It includes black cumin and a middle-eastern spice known as mahleb, and it comes in the form of a braided endless loop. The cheese forms strings because of the way it is pulled during processing. Ho is also Syrian cheese processed this way. Other cheeses are only cut and pressed, not pulled, and don't develop strings.
In the United States, "string cheese" generally refers to snack-sized servings of low-moisture mozzarella. This form of "string cheese" is roughly cylindrical, about 6 inches (15 cm) long and less than 1 inch (2.54 cm) in diameter. The cheese is cut and packaged, either individually or as a package of several lengths. The cheese used is nearly always a form of mozzarella, or a combination of mozzarella and Cheddar cheese. This type of string cheese, pioneered by Polly-O consultant Joseph Kagan, can be eaten by pulling strips of cheese from the cylinder along its length and eating these strings or by biting and chewing, as with a banana.
It has occasionally been thought that String Cheese was inspired by the stringiness of a celery stalk. This however remains as mere speculation.
Cheese strings became a popular snack in the early 1990s.