Say you make several loaves of bread which look very similar. You can put oatmeal on the white whole wheat, sesame seeds on plain white, poppy seeds on gluten free and cross hatches on rye. Is there a special term for the differentiating effects used when several varieties of bread are presented at one time?

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    In general, I would call it 'distinguishing features', but there might be a specific term as it's ones you intentionally add. It might be worth looking into the world of chocolates, as they have a system of marking & differentiation as well. (and will typically have a key when they sell an assorted box)
    – Joe
    Sep 3, 2013 at 17:30

2 Answers 2


The pattern of cuts on a loaf's crust is usually referred to as "slashing" or "scoring". I've never heard the seeds referred to as anything other than the bread being "seeded". I don't think that there would be a term for differentiating between breads using these techniques, as at most bakeries, differentiation is almost the entire purpose of using these techniques.


The only term that I can think of that one might use would be hallmark, but that is by no means a commonly used term to describe differentiating toppings or scoring. Historically the score patterns, distinctive toppings, and also loaf shapes were used to distinguish loaves belonging to individual makers or households when baking was done in communal ovens. As your question suggests, modern bakeries sometimes use these techniques to distinguish specific types of bread that might otherwise be mistaken one for the other due to their appearance. Since most toppings add distinct flavor or texture elements, it is relatively uncommon, in my experience, for a bakery to top all of it's breads but instead opt for distinctive scoring or using a stencil to dust on flour.

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