Winner of the National Brown Bread Baking Competition revealed

In a year where the people of Ireland baked more than ever before and online searches for ‘bread recipes’ were at an all-time high, Aisling O’Toole is delighted to have been announced as this year’s winner of The National Brown Bread Baking Competition, sponsored by Aldi and in association with the National Ploughing Association (NPA) and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).

The announcement was made at the final of The National Brown Bread Baking Competition which took place at Howth Castle Cookery School last Friday 10th September, meaning that Aisling will receive a prize of €15,000, with her winning brown bread going on sale in Aldi stores for the next year.

Due to government guidelines and the absence of the National Ploughing Championships for a second year, the team at Aldi, NPA and ICA ploughed on and decided to run The National Brown Bread Baking Competition a little differently, once again opening entries to bakers all over Ireland, with hopeful bakers asked to drop their freshly made loaves of brown bread to Aldi stores for a second year. With over 290 entries, Aldi is delighted to be able to continue to support local producers and keep Irish traditions alive, despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those who made it through to the final of The National Brown Bread Baking Competition 2021 to have their breads judged by a panel of experts included:

  • Martin Malone, Co. Dublin
  • Aisling O’Toole, Co. Kildare
  • Louise Taylor, Killygordan, Co. Donegal
  • Siobhan Hassett, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick

Speaking about her award at the final at Howth Castle Cookery School, Aisling said; “I am absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as the winner of this year’s National Brown Bread Baking Competition! I’ve always been proud of my brown bread recipe and baked more than ever over lockdown, and to now be able to share my creation with the people of Ireland and have my bread on shelves in Aldi stores is something I would never have thought to be possible, I’m so excited for the day that I can witness my loaves going on shelves nationwide.”

Group Buying Director at Aldi Ireland, John Curtin, said; "We were delighted to sponsor The National Brown Bread Baking Competition once again this year, despite the challenging circumstances that the Covid-19 pandemic posed for the second year running. At Aldi, we love to support local producers as much as we can, and to be able to do this again in partnership with the National Ploughing Association and Irish Countrywomen’s Association has been a pleasure. The very best of luck to Aisling, no doubt this is only the very beginning of her journey.”

NPA Managing Director, Anna May McHugh, said; “Although The National Brown Bread Baking Competition is one of our favourite parts of The National Ploughing Championships, we are delighted to have been able to continue with the competition and to crown a very worthy winner once again. We want to wish Aisling all the best, and we all are very much looking forward to seeing her award-winning loaf of bread on shelves throughout the year – we have no doubt that the people of Ireland will love it.”

Hilda Roche, President of the ICA, said; “The National Brown Bread Baking Competition is one of the highlights of our year and gives our members the opportunity to taste some delicious loaves of brown bread while searching for the best brown bread in Ireland, a search which we thoroughly enjoy. Congratulations to Aisling on her win, we look forward to seeing what the future holds for her and her delicious product.”

Aisling’s winning loaf of brown bread will be available in Aldi stores nationwide from November/December 2021. For more information on The National Brown Bread Baking Competition, visit