I thought I'd try a few different designs for bread. Slashing the bread is essential -- it allows the bread to properly rise in the oven and the yeast to distribute.
But which designs you choose to slash into the bread is a matter of preference. I personally like to put my initials into the bread, much like fancy bakeries do, but the possibilities are infinite.
First, I made my favorite San Francisco sourdough recipe and allowed it to rise once before separating it into four smaller loaves to try out different patterns. You could make two large circular loaf or eight roll-sized loaves.
After allowing the formed smaller loaves to rise until doubled, about an hour, I used a very sharp pairing knife to created designs. There's the tradition "x," the double box and some other ones I tried. The little starfish design was my favorite I think.
My dad said these things looked like dinosaur eggs coming out of the oven, but they tasted really good. In the smaller size, it only took about 20 minutes to cook and get golden brown. This time, I also substituted one cup of whole wheat flour for regular flour to give it a slightly healthier touch and a different texture.
So give it a try and make your favorite design -- it can be your signature!