Welcome, I’m Sam!

Welcome to buttermilk! I am so glad you found me 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.

welcome to buttermilk by sam
buttermilk by sam tray of treats

My story

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.

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.

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.

Random Fact

  • 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!

fun facts sam with pie

A few of my favourite things

  • small rubber spatula

    favorite kitchen tool
  • lemon curd stuffed cookie

    current favorite cookie
  • 78% dark

    favorite kind of chocolate
  • fine sea salt

    I can’t live without…
  • hazelnut banana bread

    favorite thing to bake with my daughters


  • Can I Share Your Recipe Or Republish Your Photos?

    If you make a recipe of mine and decide to share a photo you took of it on instagram, please tag me @buttermilkbysam! I’d love to see it. If you want to share the recipe with friends or family, copy paste a link to the recipe page on my blog.

    These posts and recipes are the result of a lot of my own hard work. With that in mind please link back to my site and:
    • Please do not publish my recipes on your site or your Instagram feed.
    • All images and content on this site are my own work and are copyrighted.

  • Can I Substitute ___ For ___ In Your Recipe?

    This is a hard question to answer because it depends. It depends on the ingredient and the bake itself. Before you substitute an ingredient, do a little research online but don’t believe everything you read (flax for eggs has never worked in my thick cocoa brownies, for example. And if I see one more source suggesting to substitute buttermilk with lemon juice or vinegar mixed with milk, I will scream!!). In all honesty, most of the time I won’t be able to tell you if it will be successful if I haven’t tried it myself.

  • Why Are Your Recipes In A Mix Of Measurements And Weights?

    Simply put, because this is how I bake. I often publish flour quantities in weight rather than cups. Even when I write cups, I probably weighed the flour when I actually made the bake (always at 120grams). A packed up of flour can weigh up to 20 more grams than a loose cup. Flour makes all the difference in a tender cake and a soft challah. Having said that, for other ingredients I often use cups and measuring spoons to bake because it’s simpler, faster and in many cases won’t make a big difference.

  • Why Didn’t The Recipe Work Out? It Doesn’t Look Like Yours.

    It happens to the best of us. I fail all. the. time. I can’t even tell you how many times I messed up my own hidden rainbow cake or cherry blossom cake. Why do things go wrong? Sometimes it’s because we made a hasty substitution, or we didn’t follow the methodology correctly. I have found that one of the best ways to avoid failing is to read the full recipe intently before I begin baking. This allows me to first, ensure I have everything I need (so I’m not making any last-minute, ill-informed substitutions) and second, to make sure I understand all the steps before I start. The other, and I’ve found often, thing that can make recipes fail is using different brands of ingredients. This is why I’ll usually try to specify which brand I used. If you don’t succeed the first time, don’t give up (if I gave up, this blog wouldn’t exist!). Try again, and you can always email me (or DM me on instagram – I’m faster there!) to troubleshoot.

  • Do You Do Sponsored Posts?

    I do sponsored posts with select brands that fit into the buttermilk ethos. And by that I mean, brands that I myself use in my own kitchen – things that are affordable or worth the price for the quality. This applies to to ingredients, tools, gadgets or appliances used for baking. So, for example, you will never see me do a sponsored post with Ferrari (if you will indulge this insane idea, lol). Unless they want my geometric rainbow cake riding on the hood that is….

  • How Do You Pay For Hosting Buttermilk?

    By using affiliate links and hosting ads on the site.

  • Why Are You So Obsessed With Rainbows?

    Ok, I saw this one coming. Maybe because THEY ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING EVER?! Or maybe because I am a child of the 80s and grew up on Lisa Frank school supplies? But ok, the current obsession likely has more to do with the fact that I have two little ones. The elder is really, really, into rainbows and unicorns, and is a huge source of inspiration for so much of my baking. Now if you’ll excuse me, she has just asked me if I can make “cookie dough brownies” and “eyes-cream” so I need to imagi-bake my way through those.

  • Do You Have A Privacy Policy?

    I do. You can read it here.