about

Welcome to buttermilk! I am so glad you found me (sam) and my trove of recipes. I am a baker, food photographer and recipe developer. I like to experiment with unconventional combinations, create simple baking methods that can lead to delicious and complex results. The goal for buttermilk is to share unique but accessible baking ideas which make you grin with excitement and race to your kitchen.

 

“buttermilk”

I chose the name buttermilk because it is one of my favorite ingredients. It makes bakes light and tender, and well, totally scrumptious. The first chocolate cake I made when I was 16 was a buttermilk chocolate cake. I still make that recipe today and love it dearly.

 

sam

My professional background is in political analysis with a regional focus on the middle east, and specifically on women and gender. I’m a former fulbright scholar and I spent +12 years doing research in the field. In that time I always welcomed the distraction of perfect pie crust guides and learning how to braid challah. In pursuing my love of all things sweet and cocoa, I became a chocolate snob, a cookie perfectionist and a skilled babka maker.

 

baking background & experience

Just like my daughter does now, as a kid I stealthily hung around the kitchen when my mom baked. She would make chocolate chip cookies from the recipe on the back of the Nestle package (a la Phoebe’s grandmother) or use a random grocery-store cookbook to make a buttermilk chocolate cake (see above). I would (im)patiently wait for batter-covered beaters to lick, and I was always ready to pounce on the first tortilla that came off the griddle (spread with salted butter while still hot and I was in heaven).

Once I shipped off to college I began baking more on my own and got an evening job as a gelateire (ie. Italian gelato maker) at a local cafe. When I look back at the many (MANY) jobs I’ve held since then, gelateire was definitely my favorite stint; the best part of it was experimenting with recipes and creating new flavors for the cafe.

But it wasn’t until after my graduate degree from Georgetown that I began baking more intently and attempting to develop my own recipes. I have a bit of professional baking experience from taking classes from trained chefs but mostly the recipes here are products of a lot of baking at home.

 

random things

  • Despite being a Colorado native, I know very little about high-altitude baking as I have lived on on the east coast for about a decade.
  • The thing I’ve baked most in my life is chocolate chip cookies and it’s because of my very frequent cravings for them. These one yolk, six cookies have become my favorite to whip up on a whim.
  • My baking style is very american, but my middle eastern influence comes through at times, like in this pistachio cheesecake or this meyer lemon sumac cake.
  • I never put espresso powder to “make chocolate taste more like chocolate” – it’s a lie!
  • I always, always always prefer to chop up a good chocolate bar rather than use chocolate chips.
  • I do this thing I call “imagi-baking” when I’m doing school drop-off or pickup, or right before I sleep. Basically, I imagine how I am going to bake something, and it’s how I came up with these pinwheel rolls and the hidden rainbow cake. It’s weird but it seems to work!