Let’s Make Greek Yogurt!

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Don’t you just love the rich, creamy taste of Greek Yogurt? How would you like to make it right from your own kitchen? You can absolutely do this, and I will give you a step-by-step tutorial right here…

You just need 3 tools and 3 ingredients to create this:

  • An Instant Pot or pot on the stovetop
  • Yogurt Thermometer
  • Greek Yogurt Maker / Strainer
  • ½ Gallon Organic Milk
  • 2 tbsp. Tempered Culture Organic Yogurt
  • Desired Flavors – Vanilla, Honey, etc.

I use an Instant Pot and local raw milk to get the best consistency, but you can make this on the stovetop with store bought milk. Because I have only made this with my IP, I will be sharing this version for now…



Set Instant Pot to Disinfect for 5 minutes with 1 cup of water

Remove water and add ½ gallon of milk.

On the “Yogurt” setting, set to Boil for 10 minutes at 180 degrees.

Allow to cool down to 110 degrees (stir occasionally and test temperature – place pot in an ice bath if needed).

Add 2 tablespoons of tempered culture to a small bowl (use store bought organic “cultured” plain yogurt as your starter). Whisk in 1 cup of your warm milk to combine, then add back to your pot).

Put lid on and adjust setting to “Yogurt” for 8 hours on low.

Place pot (covered) in refrigerator for an additional 6-8 hours.

Strain out whey, transfer to a container, add desired flavors and refrigerate.

Now this is where you can make “good” yogurt, or you can make GREAT yogurt… I like to make mine extra thick and creamy with no liquid, so you can either end it here and have an extra soft consistency or you can use this amazing tool to take it to the next level…

Spoon into THIS strainer which will allow all of the additional whey to completely strain out. I’m telling you it will change your experience in yogurt making. This is where you get that thick, Greek consistency. You can see the video of how it turns out (HERE).

I continue to refrigerate it in container for an additional two days before transferring to container.

This is delicious topped with fresh fruit and granola – Enjoy!!

TIP: Take the store bought yogurt that you purchased for your culture and pour into  ice cube trays – freeze and store in a Ziploc bag to use in your next batch. Then simply save 2 tbsp. of your own yogurt when that’s gone to use as your own “starter”. 

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

We have had an Apple crisis over here, and maybe you have too. Here’s what we’re doing about it…

It’s been a rough year for many of us, especially in the garden. Not only did we have a horrible start with seeds and weather, we were also hit very badly by pests – especially out in the orchard. Organic Farming means that we are willing to put up with worms and imperfections, however this year we had more than our fair share of invaders. 

Making the most out of this situation, I’ve decided to use what I could salvage for an abundance of one of my absolute FAVORITE products, and that is Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother. 

There are so many uses for ACV. In addition to the good gut health benefits of this ferment, you can use it for animal probiotics, salad dressings, hair wash, pest control, fermenting & preserving, foot soak, homemade cleaners, and so much more!

It is SO easy to make, and you can make this with home grown, store bought or even bits and pieces of the apple… 


  • Whole Organic Apples, Cores or Scraps; Please do not use apples that are not Organic – they are FULL of pesticides.
  • Pure Cane Sugar.
  • Sterilized, clean Glass Jar. Any type or size is fine – I use a 1/2 gallon Mason Jar, but you can re-use a pickle jar or anything you have on hand as long as it’s been sterilized.
  • Fermenting Lid, Coffee Filter or Cheesecloth.
  • Rubber band or Canning Ring.
  • A weight to keep apples submerged under water.
  • Marker and/or Label to write date.


  1. Chop your apples and pieces, filling your jar 3/4 full. It is okay to keep cores, stems and seeds intact, but you may desire to remove them – it is entirely up to you.
  2. Fill with good, filtered water (it’s important not to use tap water, because the chlorine will kill your good yeast). Leave room for 1 extra cup of water.
  3. In a separate container, add one tablespoon of sugar per cup of water into a 1 cup of water (i.e. 4 cups of water + 4 Tbsp sugar). Stir well so that your sugar dissolves completely.
  4. Pour in remaining sugar water, making sure to cover your apples at least by 1″.
  5. With a tight-fitting lid, shake well to incorporate evenly. Make sure they are packed down tight and to get all bubbles out from below.
  6. Place a weight on top to ensure your fruit does not get exposed to air, which will create mold.
  7. Cover with a breathable linen or fermenting lid.
  8. Write the date you made this with a sharpie or dry-erase so that you do not forget! Trust me – you will not remember.
  9. Place in a cool spot, away from sunlight and where you will remember to check it frequently. It will froth and ferment during this time. You want to keep an eye on it and watch for mold. A white film on top is good, however if it turns a pink color or if you begin to see fuzz, you may have a problem. As long as the water is covering the fruit & your jar is properly sealed, you shouldn’t have to worry. 
  10. Your apples will begin to smell like cider at first, and then a bitter vinegar scent will take over. Leave for 2-3 weeks, depending on how warm your storage is. Typically around 70 degrees is ideal. 
  11. After your desired wait, strain out the fruit and set back in your storage to continue fermenting for another 2-3 weeks. In warmer climates, you may need to strain after just one week, and in cooler temperatures, allow to sit longer. The only way to tell is to give it a taste test every once in a while & adjust your time accordingly. 
  12. After about 6-8weeks, you should have a good Apple Cider Vinegar  ready to use. Store in a cool place away from sunlight. At this point, it will develop “The Mother” at the top and you can use this to start another batch which will ferment much faster.


 How do you use ACV in your home? Will you be trying out this recipe and making your own? Share your masterpiece with us on Instagram by using the hashtag #MagnoliaHillFarmCreation and we will give you a big shout-out!

3 Creative Ways To Use Up Zucchini and Summer Squash

It’s that time of year that gardeners everywhere are loaded down with all of that Summer Bounty, so diligently cultivated weeks ago. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the volume of Zucchini, Squash and Cucumbers like we are, here are 3 creative ways we’re cooking them up.

3 Creative Ways To Use Up Zucchini and Summer Squash

We love to grill outside during the Summer, so we’ve been piling  those veggies onto Shish Kabobs! Layering up Onion, Bell Pepper, Mushroom, Cherry Tomato, Pineapple and chunky Zucchini to make a delicious Hawaiian style meal. Paint on some tangy Teriyaki sauce, add to a bed of rice and it’s an instant crowd pleaser!

3 Creative Ways To Use Up Zucchini and Summer Squash

Cucumbers have been coming out of our ears this year, and I can only make so many pickles… This next idea has been so popular at our house, we eat it almost every single day for lunch!

I use the FLAT BLADE of my Spiralizer to create this fun and ultra-thin string of cucumber slices. Mixed with sliced onion, black olives and topped with fresh basil and dill. I finish it off with a splash of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper. – Yum!

3 Creative Ways To Use Up Zucchini and Summer Squash

The biggest win has been creating these fun tendrils of Squash,  sautéed in rich butter with garlic and onions. Adding in a handful of cooked pasta (reserve 1/4 cup of the water to add to pan), halved cherry tomatoes, basil and lemon zest. Topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese, THIS is a weekly staple at our house.

The Spiralizer has been an asset to the Homestead, as we’ve used it for so many different meals, from squash to fruit to many other tuber vegetables. As a plant-based family, we need as many tools as we can find to be creative with our recipes.

We have gotten such an overwhelming response to our Instagram Stories every time I post these meals, I thought this would be a good time to share on the Blog.

I hope you try these out & please let us know which one is your favorite. Bon Appetit!

The Imperfectly Perfect Sourdough Starter

Let me preface this with this statement; “Any task that I perform for my homestead which may be done imperfectly still blesses our home”.

This recipe is not going to be sharing the precise grams in weight or maintenance plan which you may find in those fancy Blogs or Videos. This is my tried-and-true process of maintaining a healthy and happy ferment since its inception.

Isn’t it ironic that the Starter began to gain popularity once again in recent years? There was a great influx when the pandemic hit, but as I recall there was a lot of chatter in the months before. I started mine around Thanksgiving of 2019 & lovingly named her Dolores. (Did you know that if you name your starter, you may be more likely to keep it going?) I think that philosophy actually helped me.

I kept her going throughout the entire “lockdown” period, through our big move across the country in the Summer of 2020, and she’s still alive & thriving today.

There have been times when I got down to a couple of tablespoons or had to put her dormant in the refrigerator, but it’s very easy to build back up and get it active again.


Here’s my Recipe and Maintenance for my two-year-old Sourdough Starter

Tools Needed:

  • Any jar with a lid, such as a Mason Jar
  • Breathable cover (like cheesecloth)
  • Glass Measuring Cup
  • Wooden Spoon


1. To get started, in the evening fill your jar with 1/3 cup of flour and 1/3 cup of clean, warm, filtered water. You can use any flour for this process EXCEPT for “bleached” flour – I tried it & it didn’t turn out well. 

2. Stir well, making sure all dry pockets are blended.

3. When you wake up in the morning, it should have multiplied. Remove 1/3 of your Starter and either discard it, or save it in a container in your refrigerator.

4. Now, add back 1/3 cup of flour & and mix it into your remaining Starter + JUST enough luke-warm water to incorporate into a thick pancake consistency  (this has become my secret weapon to a thriving ferment).

5. Cover and store in a warm place – around 70-80 degrees is ideal. You can keep it near a heater, fireplace (not too close that it bakes), a sunny window sill or your stove. When I am baking a lot, I wrap mine in a towel and leave it on the stovetop.

6. If you choose to keep the “discard”, use it up quickly because it can clutter up your refrigerator if you’re not careful. I recommend saving the discard only after it gets established, around day three or so. You can find many amazing recipes for this on YouTube.

7. Repeat this process for 10 days, then you can begin incorporating the Starter in Sourdough recipes. I have also begun to take it out with my hands and knead it just a little bit, so that it gets used to my touch. This has really helped my Wild Yeast to respond very well in my recipes! The important thing to remember is that your Starter needs just enough warmth to create those big beautiful bubbles. After around the 30 day mark, it should be well established with a nice bubbly appearance, feel spongy, glutenous, and smell like delicious Sourdough.

Now that “Dolores” is fully established, I use it and then when I know I won’t be baking for a while, I will feed, seal up tight & store in the refrigerator until I know I need it again (feeding every week or so). This way, I don’t have to start all over with the waiting process to achieve the good ferments again.

Thank you for visiting our Blog – Please let us know how your Starter is going by tagging us on Instagram. We would love to keep in touch!

Download this Recipe HERE


In Joy – Renee Weatherford – Magnolia Hill Homestead

The Best Homemade Sourdough Bread

One year ago this month, I embarked upon a journey into the wonderful world of Sourdough. It was almost as if I had a vision that in a few months, the whole world would be making homemade bread while in the 2020 quarantine. There have been many versions of this recipe – at one point, I simply gave up and tossed my starter in the refrigerator for three months.

But alas – I never gave up on creating the kind of Sourdough that I would buy in a Deli.

This is it...


Gather Your Tools:

  1. You must have an established Sourdough Starter for this recipe. If you would like to learn how to create one, visit my Instagram Account and watch my Starter Highlight.
  2. A medium Bowl
  3. A Dutch Oven or a Pot with lid
  4. Flour (can be any type – I used All Purpose Flour)
  5. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  6. Filtered Water
  7. Parchment Paper (not required)
  8. Sharp Knife
  9. Cornmeal (not required)
  10. Wooden Spoon
  11. Proofing Basket (if you have one)
  12. Towel


1/2 cup of Active Sourdough Starter

2 cups Flour

1 1/4 cup Lukewarm Water

3 cups Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of Fine Sea Salt


Do this in the evening so that it has a chance to rise for about 12 hours

In a bowl, mix starter & water together

Work in flour & salt with a fork

Cover with a towel for 30 minutes

Carefully fold into a ball

Cover with a damp cloth & allow to rise overnight in a warm spot

After about 12 hours, pull out dough and reshape it into a ball, being very careful not to deflate the sourdough bubbles

Place on a lightly floured flat surface and allow to set up for 15 minutes

Reshape once again & flour it so that it will not stick

If you have a proofing basket, place seam side up, or simply place in a bowl & cover again for 2-3 hours (you want it to double in size, so keep an eye on it)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with Dutch Oven inside to get it nice and hot

If you have Cornmeal, place some in the bottom of your Dutch Oven to keep it from burning

Carefully remove your dough & plop into cookware. If you have it, you can use a square of Parchment Paper

With a sharp knife, slice a few slits into the top (get fancy if you can – a pretty leaf or design can look very festive)

Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on

Remove lid and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes

Check for consistency – you can continue baking until desired color

Your bread should come out with a golden, cracked top and a thick crust

If you bake this bread from scratch, let me know how it turned out! Enjoy!!

Renee Weatherford

For more recipes and Homesteading Tips, head on over to our Instagram Page where we share our New Farm adventures in the Stories and Highlights.

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