I've noticed bread purchased from the local baker always has a very fine crumb. How is this achieved??
A couple of things will help give you smaller holes:
- Keep the hydration reasonably low (say, 60% with American-style bread flour).
- Use some oil or butter. Try 10% (baker's ratio).
- Knead very well, something like 10–15 minutes in a stand mixer.
- After the first rise, normally you try to be gentle, and not press out all the air. Don't. Instead, press it out.
- 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.
a small amount of fat emulsifies, trapping multiple bubbles instead of a few giant ones
faster overall processing: a single rise
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.