The British Bread Roll Name Debate

The British Bread Roll Name Debate

Lovely soft rolls

If there is one bread product that seems to be good for nearly anything, it is the humble bread roll.

From delicious sandwiches to a toasted treat to elaborate burgers, the bread roll can do pretty much anything.

However, because it is so popular, there are so many names for it, and in regions of the UK with strong bread-making traditions and speciality bread suppliers, you can see it get quite territorial.

Here are the seven main contenders, and where it is said, according to a study by the University of Manchester.

Bread Roll

The de facto standard seen in supermarkets, the ‘roll’ or ‘bread roll’ is primarily used in London, which would explain why it has become the standard


Whilst the humble bread bun has become a term used across the UK, it is primarily seen in Yorkshire and the North East of England.

Tea Cake

Whilst this is usually taken to mean a currant-filled bread roll (or a currant bun depending on which part of Lancashire you live in), the tea cake, ideally toasted, is used north of Manchester and in West Yorkshire, and sometimes leads to the question of whether you want a tea cake plain or with currants.


Barm is the standard for much of the North West, from Manchester, Preston, Liverpool, Blackpool and Wigan, although because of how many different dialects there are in the region it is far from the only word.


A standard of Oldham and Rochdale, it gets rather confusing to ask for a muffin, as you may get a barm cake, a much flatter toasted bread or a fluffy American cake.


The cob, generally used to mean any round loaf of bread, is the name for a bread roll in the Midlands.


Finally, although rather rare, the bread batch is a rare, older name referring to how they are baked in bulk, and is mostly seen in Coventry and Liverpool.

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By | 2020-10-23T15:13:39+00:00 October 23rd, 2020|Blog|Comments Off on The British Bread Roll Name Debate

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