Cutting a cross in the top dates back to pagan days. Modern bakers claim this helps the bread bake evenly by distributing the heat or just makes it easier to break the loaf into even sections.
1 pound wholemeal flour
4 ounces plain flour
2 ounces rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 pint buttermilk
Combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add enough buttermilk to form a soft dough and turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead the dough very lightly and do not overwork or bread will develop gluten and become tough.
Shape into a large round and place on a greased baking tray. Cut a deep cross in the top of the round.
Bake at 450F for 8-15 minutes. reduce temperature to 400F for 20-25 minutes until load sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
Eat whilst still warm!