Proudly Wearing Their Stripes

At Easy Tiger’s Bakery, Gluten is King. 

Words by Jessica Devenyns  Photos by Ashley Haguewood

The contrast of an elegant European-style bakery atop a boisterous beer garden is not a combination that you would expect to be the hearth of some of the highest quality artisanal loaves in Austin.

But neither did the folks who opened Easy Tiger. “That was a happy accident,” admits head dough puncher David Norman. “We found this space, put the two concepts together, and as soon as we did, then we realized the synergy between that and how beer and bread are so similar.”

But not just any bread will do for this baker. After a year in Germany, David’s first love remains German bread. Surprisingly, however, at Easy Tiger, “Most of our bread is French or Italian.” David paused as he gazed at the wooden bread racks and corrected himself saying, “We do pretzels, and we do one rye bread.” However, his infatuation with German breads will not remain an unrequited love for long. “I’m going to do more of those [German breads] when we get into our second location,” which is under construction at the Linc Austin.

The current Easy Tiger, however, is not suffering from a lack of German rye. The wooden pegboards that line the exposed brick wall of the historic building are impossible to keep laden. Small wooden signs strung over wooden dowels announce that over half of the stock is out—an impressive feat considering it was only lunchtime and the bakery is open until 2am.

As you wait in the line that languishes out the door, the distinctive smells of yeast and gluten waft out onto the pavement and assure you that although the wall is bare, fresh bread is baking. The urgency of the production is tangible as you stand anchored to your spot watching the bakers through the glass pirouetting out of each other’s way to fill orders.

Working in this spectacular baking ballet, it’s no wonder that David has developed such a passion for gluten. “I love to bake bread. But I also love to come in in the morning and see racks full of breads that are beautiful that I didn’t bake because I know that I taught those people to do it, and they take the same pride in doing it as I do.”

Did You Know? David Norman will soon be releasing his debut cookbook: Bread on the Table. It is expected within the year. You can occasionally find David hosting workshops around town or partnering with local businesses to organize bread demos at events. Keep your ear to the ground for announcements.

Favorite Menu Item: Try their fresh pretzels with house-made mustard or salted, whipped butter for just $3.

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