Friday, October 1, 2010

Sugared Cinema: There Will Be Blood (2007)

There are only two actors in the world who, if I were to be within 15 feet of them, would paralyze me out of sheer intimidation.  Daniel Day-Lewis is one of them.  

As an actor, he is known for his intensity, both on and off set, and this is evident in his role as Daniel Plainview, a selfish, immoral oil tycoon.  The movie, set in the early 1900's, is a powerful portrayal of greed, capitalism and corruption during oil's rise to popularity in the United States.

There Will Be Blood was written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (of Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love fame.)  Jonny Greenwood, guitarist for Radiohead, produced the movie's score and it is absolutely superb:  haunting, moody and eerily chaotic.

When you listen to it, you know some shit's about to go down.

Now something else, and please don't be insulted if I speak about this - bread. Let's talk about bread.

Now to my mind, its an abomination to consider that any man, woman or child in this magnificent country of ours should have to look upon a loaf of bread as a luxury. We're going to dig water wells here. Water wells means irrigation, irrigation means cultivation. We're going to raise crops here where before it just simply was impossible. You're going to have more grain than you'll know what to do with. Bread will be coming right out of your ears, ma'am.

 Mike's grandma (my grandma-in-law or GIL, if you will) introduced me to English muffin bread.  I had my first taste of it when I met her in 2005.  The recipe says to dust the bread with cornmeal but I'm convinced she uses crack rocks.

She gave us a loaf before heading home to Idaho a few weeks ago.  When we reached the last few slices, she was gracious enough to share the recipe with me.  I put aside my fear of bread-making and decided to give it a go.

English Muffin Bread
Recipe by Mike's grandma (<3)

Here's what you'll need:

cornmeal, for dusting
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope of yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
 1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water

There will be bread.

Grease a loaf pan then dust it with cornmeal.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine two cups of the flour, sugar, salt, soda and yeast.

In an microwave-proof cup or bowl, combine the milk and water and nuke until very warm.  Pour into the flour mixture and give it a good beating.

Add the remaining cup of flour and give it one final go.

Scrape the dough into the prepared loaf pan.  Let it rise for about 45 minutes while you contemplate the meaning of life and how you can be a winner at it.

Slide the pan into a 400 degree oven and let it bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.

Remove from the pan and let it cool on a rack.

There really is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread.  Yankee Candle needs to get on that.

And that's it.  So easy!  If by some miracle you have some bread leftover after the first few days, just freeze the rest.  I like to slice it up, wrap it in Press 'n Seal and keep it in the freezer for quick, easy toasting.

My mom-in-law likes it with butter and a drizzle of honey.

 I like to eat it with butter and a good slather of Mike's grandma's raspberry preserves.

Mmm.  The edges are crispy and the center is dense and chewy, just like an English muffin.  It's all you need for breakfast (or dinner, as I did tonight) as far as I'm concerned.

I'm finished.

Happy Friday, friends.


  1. For sure I thought you were going to make milkshakes. ;)

    But this is hard to deny how yummy it looks. Mike's family rocks.

  2. There will be bread...but only if you bake it for me. I don't even think your sweet GIL's recipe can get me to overcome my fear of yeast.

    But it does look sexy all prettied up with preserves.

  3. Love, love, love this movie.

    Husband and I are very excited to make this bread.


    What an awesome post.

  5. Margie - DRAAAAINAGE! I was SO tempted.

    Wendi - this is a good stepping stone into scary yeast territory. No kneading involved. In the meantime, I'll drop some off next time I pass through Bmore :D

    Kristen - as much as I love movies, I rarely buy dvds. A space issue. I'll bend my rule for this movie and squeeze it in right next to Waitress, The Sandlot and Best in Show.

    Mike - One night I'm gonna come to you, inside of your kitchen, wherever you're eating, and I'm gonna cut your bread.

  6. I'm definitely baking this bread this weekend, but then you make it look so easy sweetie. (Thanks Diana!) As for DDL, I loved him in Last of the Mohicans!

  7. Mom - I'll feature Last of the Mohicans in a future Sugared Cinema and make...I don't know, Indian Frybread? Btw, we need to try making Grandma's Hawaiian sweet bread soon.

  8. This looks awesome, Ali. Definitely will give it a try soon.

    And there's no excuse for not having seen this movie yet. I really want to, too.

  9. "The recipe says to dust the bread with cornmeal but I'm convinced she uses crack rocks.
    Ok, I read this while I had my mouth full of water and I nearly drowned trying to contain my laughter and control my breathing at the same time! Your bread turned out splended. I would not have guessed you HAD a fear of yeast breads :)

  10. Liam - this is the kind of film that's worth planning a themed dinner around for you and Amanda's next Movie Night.

    Christa - oh please don't drown! I would miss your posts terribly.

  11. My cousin goes to an American school in Paris and is in the same class as one of DDL's sons. I think I would pee my pants if I ever ran into him. He scares me (but is an amazing actor)! That bread looks so delicious!

  12. Okay 3 things :D 1....agreed about Yankee Candles needing to get right on that scent! 2....thanks for the recipe, going to try this over the weekend! and 3....WHO IS THE 2ND actor that you started talking about in the beginning? :D lol For me, it'd have to be Tom Hanks. hands down.

  13. Taylor - I would have to wear an adult diaper in his presence. He scares me, too! Crazy because he seems to have such a calm, quiet demeanor when he's not in character.

    MBC - I love numbered comments! (I'm a list freak.) The 2nd actor is Leonardo DiCaprio. The guy is only, what, in his early 30's, already he's earned the respect of so many reputable actors, some almost twice his age. Tom Hanks is a good one, too!

  14. That's a perfectly baked loaf of bread. Haven't watched that movie though. Hope it goes well with the bread. :)

  15. I love English muffin bread. Putting jam on it makes it taste beyond amazing.