This recipe for Irish Soda Bread is contributed by chef and cooking facilitator Niall Allen, who made the bread for participants of the Foundation Course last weekend. Click on the image album for a step-by-step guide or follow the instructions below.


Preheat the oven to 180°, oil and flour a baking tray or use baking parchment.
Sift the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl, mix well.
Return the husks sifted from the wholemeal flour into the bowl, mix into the dry ingredients.
Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add the buttermilk and mix into the dry ingredients with a flat bread knife.
Use a cutting motion through the mixture until a dough forms.
Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a floured work surface and knead briefly until the dough becomes smooth.
Shape the dough into a ball approximately 18cm in diameter and place on the prepared baking tray.
Using a sharp knife cut a deep cross into the surface of the dough.
Brush the surface of the dough with a little buttermilk and olive oil.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the loaf is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.