“He’s the best at what he does, after all. The finest bread I’ve ever had. And the most expensive: in human cost, aggravation, and worry. Hiring Adam Real-Last-Name-Unknown was always a trade-off—with God or Satan, I don’t know—but it was usually worth it. Bread is the staff of life. And Adam, the unlikely source” (242).
–Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential
If you could eat one food for the rest of your life and nothing else, what would it be? Your grandmother’s roast beef and gravy? Your mother’s meatloaf? Greasy pepperoni pizza from that pizza joint down the street that stays open until 2 a.m.?
If I had to choose, I would choose bread. But not just any bread. The heavenly, doughy goodness that is Texas Roadhouse rolls.
As a server at Texas Roadhouse, I have eaten my fair share of these rolls. Whether I’m sneaking one from a friend’s basket, shoveling a roll in my face at a POS before greeting a table, or bringing a box of extras home at the end of a long night, I always seem to end up eating at least one roll per shift. This is simultaneously a blessing and a curse: my taste buds thank me; my thighs do not.
It takes a special kind of person to craft something as delectable as Texas Roadhouse rolls. In a hilariously descriptive excerpt in Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain brings to life his chosen bread guy, Adam Real-Last-Name-Unknown, who, put nicely, is a hot mess at best. Bourdain describes Adam as a lazy, alcoholic, drug addicted criminal and asks, “Why, of all his creatures did [God] choose this loud, dirty, unkempt, obnoxious, uncontrollable, megalomaniacal madman to be His personal bread baker? How is it that this disgrace. . .could throw together a little flour and water and make magic happen?” (235). Bourdain then goes on to say that he has fired Adam Real-Last-Name-Unknown multiple times, but he always seems to take him back.
Because when you can make bread that good, frankly, my dear, you don’t give a damn about anything else.
I can attest to this statement. We have one of those bread guys at Texas Roadhouse, though not quite as extreme as Adam. He’s irritable, rarely on time, and ironically, I don’t know his name either. I’ve seen him fired and rehired multiple times. Sometimes I go a week or two without seeing him at work, but he always reappears behind the glass window, glaring at me from the other side while I wait for his masterpiece to come out of the oven.
My bread guy, First-And-Last-Name-Unknown, bakes flawless, “legendary” rolls. I can always tell who is working based on the quality of the bread baskets. Some bakers have not seemed to figure out timing yet, either overcooking the rolls until they are crunchy or undercooking them so they look more like dough than bread. Other bakers have not realized that you have to let the dough sit for a precise amount of time before sticking it in the oven to create the ideal sized roll. If the dough does not sit first, it comes out tiny and dense. If it sits for a while, it comes out the size of a fist, airy and delicious.
There is a science to crafting the perfect bread; Adam-Last-Name-Unknown and my bread guy (First-And-Last-Name-Unknown) have it down. In honor of these two misfits, I decided to try my hand at baking bread. Because chocolate is my second favorite food to bread, and this excerpt is found in the “Dessert” section of Kitchen Confidential, I decided to combine the two into a semisweet chocolate loaf.
Disclaimer: No alcohol or drugs were consumed during the making of this dessert. Many chocolate chips were.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4-1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- Cream butter and sugar together. Add in eggs and sour cream, beating until smooth and creamy. Add in dry ingredients and mix until all combined. Stir in Chocolate chips.
- Spoon batter into a well greased loaf pan, Gently tap pan on counter to remove any large air bubbles. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let bread rest in pan for 20 minutes before removing to cool completely.
**Note: I used an 8×4 pan and had too much batter, so I made mini cupcakes with the extra
––By Sarah Grace Marzullo