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In the novel, Miss Emily, Emily Dickinson’s maid Ada instructs her in the making of Irish soda bread.

bread1
IRISH SODA BREAD

Ingredients

450g plain flour
1 level tsp bread soda
2 level tsps cream of tartar
big pinch of salt
1 tblsp white sugar
25g margarine
half pint milk
a handful of raisins (optional – they make for a sweeter, teatime loaf)

bread2Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas 6
  • Sprinkle flour onto a round baking tray
  • Sieve flour, bread soda, cream of tartar and salt into a bowl. Add sugar after sieving and mix through
  • Rub in the margarine until the mix is like bread crumbs
  • Add milk and mix to make a soft dough
  • Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead a little
  • Turn over and shape into a round. Place the dough onto the floured baking tray
  • Cut a deepish cross into the loaf
  • Bake for 45 minutes
  • Remove from oven and tap underneath, if there’s a hollow sound, the loaf is done
  • Cool on a wire tray, covering with a tea towel to give a softer crust
  • Slather with butter and eat!

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