What keywords should I search in Google or look for in recipe books when I need to bake a bread with big holes like this:

enter image description here

For smaller holed breads is the name "sandwich bread" sufficient for searching Google?

How to know by reading the recipe whether the resultant bread will be big holed or small holed?

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    Related: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/27855/1672
    – Cascabel
    Apr 1, 2013 at 15:39
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    A rough approach you might take: try some Google image searches, find pictures you like, go back to the web pages they came from, and if you're lucky they're recipes, and if not they might still have the name of the bread, which you could use to go search for recipes to try.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 1, 2013 at 15:40

2 Answers 2


I don't think there is a general answer to this question. There are hundreds or perhaps thousands of styles of bread around the world, with a a great variety of textures and distributions of the holes.

There is no particular word that covers this aspect of bread... for example, both challah and brioche are finely textured enriched breads with small holes, but there would not likely be found under "sandwich bread" and I cannot think of a single keyword that would include them both.

Similarly, the Italian bread ciabatta and the now-famous "no knead bread" are both large holed breads, but I am not sure what search would encompass them both. (The link is to Kenji Alt's recipe, if you want to try it.)

The closest you may come is the notion—which may be particular to the US, I am not sure— that "artisan bread" has large holes, since it seem to be a code word for a particular type of loaf made with a long fermentation and high level of hydration which therefore causes large holes, and a very chewy and crusty texture. (Personally, I find that label silly, as if the notion that brioche, a highly enriched finely textured, small-holed bread doesn't require just as much artisanship to create.)

If you really want to explore this topic, I suggest learning more about bread in general through one of the many excellent books available on the topic. They will give you both a survey of some of the world's breads, and an introduction to the techniques used to create them.

Three choices that may get you started include:

Personally, I own all three of the above.

Edit: In advance of trying a recipe, there is no single way to know whether the outcome will be large holes or small holes. There is no sufficiently standard terminology that you can apply all of the time. Some terms that come to mind to look for include:

  • For large holes: Open crumb, open texture, airy.

    While not strictly directly addressing the size of the holes, loaves labeled "artisan" or "rustic" likely fit this category.

  • For small holes: Closed crumb, fine texture, dense.

    Again, while not absolute, enriched breads (lots of eggs, dairy, or sugar, or all three) tend to fall in this category.

Still, the only way to know the intent of the author for sure is to read the description they provide carefully, and look at any pictures they may have shared (assuming they show the cut loaf, and not just the crust).

  • I have added this in the question: "How to know by reading the recipe whether the resultant bread will be big holed or small holed?" Secondly, what you do when you wish to find a new type of big holed bread? Does your recipe book mention that the resultant bread is big or small holed? Not all recipe books have photographs. Apr 1, 2013 at 9:14
  • @AnishaKaul I am sorry, I am still not sure how to answer that in the general case. You would have to read the detailed descriptions, look at the pictures, or apply knowledge of the recipes and formulas and their likely outcomes. The information simply is not sufficiently structured to have cleanly defined keywords to look for.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 1, 2013 at 9:19
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    @AnishaKaul You can certainly look for the terms mentioned here (open crumb, open texture, or even large hole structure) but there's no guarantee that recipes will mention them. It's kind of like asking "how do I find yellow food?" - you can tell what color it is from the recipe, but they might not have ever used the word "yellow".
    – Cascabel
    Apr 1, 2013 at 15:36
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    @Jefromi that should be an "answer". Apr 1, 2013 at 15:45
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    I generally hear 'tight crumb' and 'loose crumb' used to desribe the size of the holes (vs. closed/open). I don't know if that's a regional thing, though. Also, 'enriched' is often used to describe those with oils, eggs or sugar, which tend to have a finer crumb.
    – Joe
    Apr 1, 2013 at 21:49

Although there is an exception to every rule, high hydration breads often have larger holes (increased water allows for increased gluten development which allows for large air bubbles (=holes)) and low hydration breads often have smaller holes.

Breads with a high proportion of fat also may have smaller holes since the fat coats the gluten molecules (I believe) and prevents further gluten development and thus large holes.

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    Agree.. this is part of the "knowledge of the recipes and formulas and their likely outcomes" that I was alluding to. It requires analysis, not just reading descriptions.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 1, 2013 at 10:09

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