Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've noticed bread purchased from the local baker always has a very fine crumb. How is this achieved??

share|improve this question
What do you mean by "fine" crumb? That the holes are small and regularly shaped, or that it is very soft? – rumtscho May 18 '12 at 10:35
I mean that the holes are small and regularly shaped. It would also be good to know how they make it so soft but that is probably better for another question. – Jacob May 19 '12 at 3:22
up vote 9 down vote accepted

A couple of things will help give you smaller holes:

  1. Keep the hydration reasonably low (say, 60% with American-style bread flour).
  2. Use some oil or butter. Try 10% (baker's ratio).
  3. Knead very well, something like 10–15 minutes in a stand mixer.
  4. After the first rise, normally you try to be gentle, and not press out all the air. Don't. Instead, press it out.
  5. Bake in a moderate (say, 350°F) oven. You don't particularly want much oven spring here.

For even finer texture, part way through the second rise, you can press it out again, and let it start a third rise (but not to double).

Also, adding some whole wheat or rye flour will give a denser crumb. With different flavor, too, of course.

share|improve this answer
I wouldn't use bread flour for small holes, but AP flour. Has the side effect of tasting better at low hydration, too. – rumtscho May 20 '12 at 8:57
Agree they're probably adding fat of some sort. Also, there's probably no sourdough in there, and rising time is probably very tightly controlled for their baking environment. I think it's quite easy to get smaller holes at home but it's difficult to get a light texture and a small crumb. – Mick Sear May 20 '12 at 17:11
Covers most of what I was going to post. A little sugar in the bread dough helps yield a tighter but more delicate crumb too. – BobMcGee May 23 '12 at 2:21
  1. a small amount of fat emulsifies, trapping multiple bubbles instead of a few giant ones

  2. faster overall processing: a single rise

  3. denser dough and worked til highly elastic.

Dough for a sandwich loaf would be portioned into three balls and worked til taut, lined up snuggly in pan and proofed to only half of its rising capacity then baked with a lid on to further compact the crumb.

share|improve this answer

My experience is that the drier your bread dough is, the finer the crumb and smaller the holes. Try using slightly less liquid or slightly more flour.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.