There are many regional differences for the word 'roll'

Picture of a flat wheat roll on a paper plate

Here’s a question for you: what is in this picture?

If you were going to say a ‘roll’ or ‘bun’, you’re wrong. The picture was taken in Dorset, so it is a bap. Of course, if the photo was taken in Nottingham, we might have said it was a cob. But if we were in Leeds, we would have called it a bread-cake.

A strong baking tradition across Britain means there are many sizes and types of plain wheat bread rolls – and they their own names, depending on the region. In bakeries you can find the local speciality. This could be a barm cake, bread-cake, bap, batch, bun, buttery, muffin, cob, oven bottom, roll or stotty.

To add to the confusion, some names mean more than one thing. In the area north of Manchester, bread rolls are called ‘teacakes’. But in Scotland, a teacake is a type of biscuit topped with marshmallow. Across the country, it can also mean a large, flat sweet bun with raisins.

If you’re out shopping and don’t know what to ask for, ‘bread roll’ is universally understood.

  • You can read more about what people call their bread rolls in this YouGov survey.

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