Food & Drink

Butter Boards are the Latest TikTok Craze to Hit Baltimore

Marta in Butchers Hill serves a sourdough boule and a spread of house-cultured butter with Maldon sea salt, herbs, flower petals, and basil oil.
Marta is board certified. —Photography by Scott Suchman

Inspired by his previous job working at Danny Meyer’s Michelin-starred restaurant, The Modern, Matthew Oetting, owner-chef of Marta, knew he wanted to offer some type of elevated bread service that would wow patrons when it was served. At The Modern, which was located inside the Museum of Modern Art, bread service was such a production, it took two people to deliver it to the table.

“There were two different compound butters,” says Oetting, “and a high-end olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There was a tray with compotes and chutneys. And then there were the breads—all artisan and local—set inside baskets with five varieties, from Parker House rolls to pumpernickel.”

So, as he contemplated what he wanted to do at his new spot in Butchers Hill, it was only natural for Oetting to think about making his own bread.

“I knew I wanted something pretty spectacular,” he says. “We toyed with the idea of making the bread from scratch,” he says. “Before we opened, I bought four different flours and studied how to make sourdough starter. My chef de cuisine and I were talking, and he was like, ‘Chef, this is a lot of work. I have an idea—what if instead of making the bread, we make the butter?’”

For inspiration, Oetting’s wife, Martha, showed him some images from Google and TikTok. And Marta’s butter board—a sourdough boule from Stone Mill Bakery and a spread of house-cultured butter served with a shower of Maldon sea salt and herbs, flower petals, and a drizzle of basil oil—was born.

The board manages to be all things to both customers and staff: It’s easy to make, elegant in appearance, and a top seller.

“We hear the ‘oohs’ and the ‘ahhs’ from the kitchen,” he says. And when the boards come back, “It’s as if they’d been licked clean,” Oetting says with a laugh.