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

  • What do you mean by "fine" crumb? That the holes are small and regularly shaped, or that it is very soft?
    – rumtscho
    Commented May 18, 2012 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
    Commented May 19, 2012 at 3:22

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 1
    I wouldn't use bread flour for small holes, but AP flour. Has the side effect of tasting better at low hydration, too.
    – rumtscho
    Commented May 20, 2012 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
    Commented May 20, 2012 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
    Commented May 23, 2012 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.


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.

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