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Category ... Bread Questions

An Artisan Baker Who Loves the Bread Machine

Jun 30, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

Me! Yes—I know I know—people are always shocked when I defend bread machines but here’s the full story behind it.

When I started writing about bread, many years ago, I wouldn’t even consider using anything but my hands. I remember writing something along the lines of “not for me a bread machine that would rob me of the pleasure of touching the bread.” But several years later, when I started working on “The Bread Bible,” I realized how limited my thinking had been. For one thing, when trying to create a bread such as ciabatta, with large holes, the dough needs to be so sticky it clings to your fingers. My temptation was always to add too much flour which closed up those large holes.

Continue reading "An Artisan Baker Who Loves the Bread Machine" »

Hector's Panettone

Dec 21, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Thought you'd all enjoy seeing what a magnificent panettone Hector from Hawaii has produced. He's posted several times about it and has been working relentlessly to achieve perfection! Bravo!

Can you use more rye flour in a rye bread that suggested?

Mar 09, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Your rye breads have a very small amount of rye flour in proportion to white. Can you use more rye flour in a rye bread?

My preference is for a light rye flavor and texture so I use just under 18% rye. If you want higher than 20% rye you need to make a sourdough rye because the acidity of the sourdough is necessary to keep the crumb from getting sticky (due to the pentosans in the rye flour).

To make a bread with about 42% rye, convert the sourdough starter to a sourdough rye starter by feeding it medium rye flour instead of bread flour. You will need a few extra drops of water to achieve a smooth consistency. It will take 9 feedings until you have replaced all the white flour in the starter with rye. (You can do the feedings every 12 hours, leaving the starter at room temperature, or more gradually, refrigerating the starter as per the chart on page 437.) Then use this starter to make the Sourdough Rye on page 451.

When making the bread, feed the starter only medium rye flour but in the dough, omit the 3/4 cups of rye flour, and use a total of 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (11.5 ounces/325 grams) of bread flour. The dough will rise much more quickly using this high a percentage of rye flour (about 2 hours after the first 2 business letter turns and about 2 1/2 hours after shaping).

Raisin Pecan Bread

Feb 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


Feedback: What am I doing wrong? I have attempted to make your raisin pecan bread at least 4 times. Each time the bread appears to process correctly except the final product does not rise enough making a very heavy bread.

when you say it doesn't rise enough do you mean that it doesn't reach the height of 3 inches listed on the recipe? this is a dense bread but tender due to the ground pecans replacing some of the flour. coincidentall, i just made this bread today. it's one of my favorites. i now add 75 grams of old starter and 1/16th teaspoon more salt and make the dough a day ahead which gives extra flavor. i also bake it on a cushionair baking sheet (you can also use two baking sheets one-on-top of the other--the keep the dough and raisins that rise to the surface from over-browning.

if a bread isn't pictured, it is very hard to imagine the texture which is why i gave the finished height. and this is why i'm so thrilled that my next book will have the cakes photographed so everyone can see exactly what they're supposed to look like!

Sourdough Starters

Feb 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


hi rose,
since i wrote the last email i switched over from a liquid starter to a stiff one. the liquid one was going great and when i added the flour to make it a stiff one it looked like that one was expanding like crazy too.

but then i threw out all but the 1/4 cup of starter and fed it with the 50g flour/25g water and it just kind of went flat again. i threw out all but 1/4 cup and fed it again the same way and it didn't rise that time either.

the next day instead of throwing any out i just added the fresh flour and water and it woke back up! since then i have started by only throwing out half and then a little more than that each feeding so it keeps some strength. That seems to work out ok as i scale down the amount of starter gradually.

For fun, i tried expanding the 2 tablespoons of starter you need for the bread and when i leave it at room temp for 6 hours it does rise quite well. does it sound like i am i putting it into the fridge too soon? and has anyone you talked too had this problem when switching from the liquid to stiff starter? sourdough seems to be a struggle of trial and error and its amazing i haven't killed it yet. it's more resilient than most people.


no--haven't heard anyone discuss problems switching over from liquid starter but you happened upon something i think is true--yeast often does better in large quantities of starter. also, as you noticed, it's a live thing and affected by room temp. etc. so if it works for you to leave it out longer bf refrigerating it that's the thing to do!

A Good-Looking Loaf of Bread

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


I have been trying to make bread for the last couple weeks and the problem i am having is on the second rise it barely rises out of the bread pan. I use warm water (110 degrees) and set the bread in a warm place to rise. what can i do differant to get it to rise 3-4 inches out of the pan as i recall it doing when my mother made it. thanks denny


If the bread dough is rising successfully, i.e. doubling in volume, on the first rise, it sounds like the problem is not with the dough but with the amount until you are using. In order to get it to rise three to 4 inches out of the pan after baking, you need the dough to fill the pan about a half-inch from the top.

Popovers Not Popping

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions



I have tried your Butter Popover (page 178 of The Bread Bible) recipe three times and for the life of me I cannot get the popovers to rise. They are tasty, for sure, but puffy? No. Your directions have been followed to the letter (including using Wondra), but to no avail. Thanks for any insight you can offer.


It seems like a physical impossibility that the popovers aren't rising. Could your oven be off?
is the fat in the pan getting really hot before pouring in the batter?

Try switching to the all-purpose bleached flour suggested on page 180. the popovers will be less tender but they are sure to pop.

Ideal Environment for Raising Bread Dough

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Hello, Rose.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to restart my bread
baking routines from 20 years ago.

I don't want to use a bread machine. I like kneading and all that.

I am concerned that yeast won't rise properly for me. I'm just
unlucky somehow in Northern California. I did fine when I lived in
San Diego.

I have a gas oven but it seems like a cheap gas oven in that it
may leak heat. When I put dough in there to rise -- relying on the
pilot light to creat the right temperature environment -- it's usually

I've tried putting hot water in a dish on the bottom of the oven, but
I don't have any instructions on how often to replenish the water
and how hot to make the water.

I also wonder whether it's better to cover the dough with saran
wrap or a warm damp towel that won't stay warm very long. My
mother told me to use a towel.

I hope you can help.

Thanks very much.


this is an important question that several people have asked, so I'm going to address is here.

When bread rises at a cool temperature, it develops complex flavors. When the temperature exceeds eighty five degrees Fahrenheit off flavors result. The pilot light of an oven usually results in temperatures of about a hundred and fifteen degrees which can actually kill the yeast. If you leave the oven light on however, it should be just the right temperature.

A small container of very hot water also works well. Instead of an oven you can use a large plastic box to cover the bread and container of water. I change the water every thirty minutes.

Crumbly Cornbread

Jan 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


Feedback: I hate to admit that I'm 75
years old and just now
wondering why my cornbread is all of a sudden so crumbly. My husband gets really "disturbed". It's
happened the last few times
I've baked it. What am I
doing wrong?


as i illustrated in my génoise posting, when something has worked for years and suddenly doesn't, it's always bc one is doing SOMETHING differently. think hard what that could be.

generally speaking, cornbread is crumbly if there is too high a proportion of cornmeal to flour. you need the gluten in the flour to hold it together and also enough moisture. if it is too high in fat it will also be too tender and crumbly. i don't know what ingredients you are using but you could try using a higher protein flour if you are using a cake flour or soft southern flour such as white lilly. try a bleached all purpose. hope this helps.

Adding Rye Flour to Bread Dough

Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


Your Bread Bible is my favorite Christmas present this year. I spent
almost four months in Germany on business this summer and can't handle
store-bought American bread anymore, so I've gone back to baking my own,
something I learned from my mother and grandmother--although they always
made white bread and I longed for the great European style wheat/rye
breads. The first thing I did was use your sponge method on my favorite
bread recipe and was amazed at the difference.

So thanks!

In Germany I came across a great bread called Gassenhauer, my favorite
of the many breads I ate over there. It's a wheat/rye sourdough with a
gorgeous crust. Apparently it's trademarked, though, and I haven't been
able to find a recipe anywhere. Ever hear of it? I'd sure like to make
something as close to that as I can manage in this country.

Now a question: I made your Tyrolean Torpedo to go with the New Year's
Eve bean soup I made, and it went over really well--although I can think
of a couple things I could have done better. My wife and our guest
thought I was crazy saying it could have been better, but you know the
drill. It's never quite good enough, especially on the first try. They
enjoyed it and I dissected it. And then enjoyed it. But--what I really
learned to love when I lived in Austria for a couple years in the
eighties and on my German stay last summer is that taste of a combined
wheat and rye bread. I know you say you shouldn't substitute, but what
would happen if I replaced some of the flour in the Tyrolean bread with

Anyway, thanks again for helping me push my bread to a higher level and
helping to guide me on my quest for really great bread. If only I had a
better oven. The quarry tiles help a lot, but still...


coincidentally, i'm making the tyrolean bread tomorrow for a party friday night. it's one of my favorites and i add about 75 grams/2.6 oz. of week-old starter (i still use the same amount of instant yeast) and an extra 1/8 teaspoon of salt since the starter has no salt in it. this gives it more depth of flavor, and keeps it fresher longer not that any of it will remain by the end of the party! i sometimes replace some of the flour with durum flour. it would be fine to do the same with rye but you have to be careful not to use too much as even with the acidity of the sourdough the pentosans in the rye will cause it to be gummy. i would start by replacing no more than 20% of the flour with rye.

re the german bread--i totally agree--i adore the breads of germany. i never had the pleasure of encountering the "gassenhauer"--anyone out there hear of it or have a recipe? i'll ask hans welker of fci next time i speak to him as he's from germany and surely knows.

i'm so thrilled when other people get excited about the breads i love so much. thanks for sharing! do let us know how the rye works with the tyrolean!

Increasing Yeast for a Larger Bread Recipe

Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

(Rose on Rising)

A prior posting addressed the question of whether the yeast in a bread recipe should be increased proportionately to the other ingredients or if less should be used.

since this is such an often asked question and various cookbook authors seem to have differing opinions, i decided to consult with two bread experts whom i greatly respect: bill weekley of SAF yeast (lesaffre yeast corp.) and hans welker of fci (the french culinary institute in new york).

bill reinforced that environment can play a significant role in yeast quantity, for example in alaska where the kitchen is probably colder, a lot more yeast may be used than say in phoenix arizona, where kitchens tend to be so much warmer. and as i quoted him in “the bread bible,” at high altitude less yeast is required due to the decrease in air pressure. bill also mentioned that if using volume rather than weight, larger formulae tend to be more inconsistent.

here’s his advice: for batches of bread dough using up to 10 pounds of flour increase the yeast proportionately to the other ingredients.

hans agrees that since home bakers are not working in huge quantities of dough, it is fine to increase the yeast proportionately. he agreed with my supposition that in large volume the yeast would grow faster, but he said, very practically i might add, that if the baker can keep up with production there’s no need to decrease the yeast!

i suspect that what is happening in really large batches of dough is that the fermentation of the yeast produces more heat thus speeding the rate of the rise.

The Best Ciabatta I've Ever Had!

Jan 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


Feedback: I heard you have the best ciabatta bread recipe to be had but I can't find it, can you help? Thanks either way.


thanks for asking--it will be on the blog by wed. night. i'm waiting to get back to my home computer to retrieve the photo to go along with it!

P.S. Just realized you wrote ciabatta. and it's a focaccia that i've posted! i do have a terrific ciabatta i worked very hard on in my "bread bible" on page 355.

Crumbly 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Dec 27, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


Feedback: I have my mother's recipe for ground whole wheat bread from my mother, who died 3-2000, so I can't ask her. My bread has a fine texture, is moist and tasty, but it is crumbly. I'd like bread with a good cling like hers was. What makes bread crumbly?


lack of gluten development. there is not much gluten forming protein available in whole wheat flour but if it's freshly ground, and if you use enough water it should be adequate to hold together well. to hedge your bets, add vital wheat gluten. there is a range of amounts on the package. start with the smallest amount so the bread isn't too chewy. it will make a huge difference to the texture of the bread.

Rosemary Foccacia

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Jane Question:
I attempted the Rosemary Foccacia a couple of weeks ago and ended up throwing out the mixture. When I completed Step 1, after 30 min. of mixing on my Kitchen Aid, the mix was still totally liquid. After sitting for 7 hrs, I finally tossed. What could I have done wrong?

Rose Reply:
many people have had trouble with this recipe but some have succeeded so i have to assume it's either the type of flour or the amount, i.e. if measuring instead of weighing the balance of flour to the enormous amount of water may be off. also, it may take longer than 20 minutes to form a ball but if it doesn't after 25 minutes you need to add a little more flour. For the airiest texture and largest holes, allow the dough to double instead of 1-1/2 times. i also double the yeast now as well. and most important of all, dimple the dough deeply all over before baking. i will be posting a fabulous new focaccia from primo in maine but you will need to have some sort of starter. old starter is fine--it doesn't have to be very active bc the recipe also contains instant yeast. i think this is the best flavor and texture of any focaccia i've ever tasted.

Cool Rise for Bread

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

I would like to know if all bread recipes (with yeast) can be used as a cool rise? That is after they are shaped and formed can I put them in the refrig. over night ?

Rose Reply:
i’m racking my brain to think if there’s an exception and can’t come up with one. oh! quick breads that use chemical leavening instead of yeast need to be baked soon after mixing. but yeast breads all seem to benefit from a cool, slow, overnight rise.

Bread Rising Slowly

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Rose, I am a 74 year old Man that loves to cook and especially make bread. However, lately I am having trouble with my dough not rising as it should, the first time. Have any idea's?
I have several of your books and am looking forward to your new "Cake Book" coming out. Thanks

Rose Reply:
thank you—i’m really enjoying coming up with new cake recipes and delicious variations on old favorites.
if your bread is slow to rise on the first rise it may be that the yeast is old or that it is not warm enough. a slow rise is not a bad thing flavor-wise but the best way to speed it up is to give it more warmth—ideally moist warmth.

i use a cheap plastic box as a cover and put a small container of about 1 cup of boiling water in it—not too close to the dough or bread pan. i change it every 30 minutes. this gives you a temperature of about 80-85 degrees which is just right. higher temperatures will give it an off flavor.

Increasing Yeast

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Mike Question:
I have been using "The Bread Bible" for two years now & couldn't bake without it. I often make the butter-dipped dinner rolls found on pg. 249. If I want to double the recipe, do I need to double the amount of yeast or should I use less? I doubled the amount once & it seems as though the dough rose much faster that is did in the single batch recipe.

I also have an "old" recipe for Swedish limpa rye bread. Is there a way I can convert the amounts of ingredients to grams? I make a great loaf from the old recipe but I would like to standardize the amounts.

Rose Reply:
please check out the entry about increasing yeast under the bread catagory. essentially i wrote that for smaller amounts i didn't find there was a difference so i double the yeast but for larger batches of dough the yeast seems to multiply more rapidly and less is usually required. but if you found from experience that doubling this recipe made the dough rise faster i would cut back a little simply because a slower rise makes for a more delicious flavor!

i'm delighted that you want to convert a favorite recipe to grams. i find it so much more enjoyable working with grams than measuring or even ounces. since you have my book, all the weights are in the back. i would approach it by making the recipe as usual but weighing the ingredients as you measure them. then it will come as close to what your usual results have been.

Rye Bread

Dec 16, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Gale Question:
I have used your Jewish Rye Bread recipe many, many times and everyone loves it. One question I have--no matter how long I let it rise, it tends to only rise to 3" and tends to spread to 8". How can I get a bread that is smaller in diameter and rises to the 3 and 1/2" that is indicated in your recipe?

Rose Reply:
thanks--it's one of my favorite breads and i've been making it for many years. there is a mistake on the recipe--in step 2 i say to add the rye flour but there is no more rye flour to be added. are you getting the same weight of finished dough that i indicate? if you are not weighing you may be getting a different amount of flour and liquid which could affect the rise. but if it is very smooth and elastic and your bread flour is under a year old you should get the same results i do.

i wrote on the recipe that my finished loaf is 7-3/4 inches by 4 inches high. if yours is spreading 1/4 inch more that is hardly significant. but the 1 inch less in height is. it could be you are not getting enough oven spring. are you preheating the oven and baking stone for at least 45 minutes? are you steaming the oven? all this helps a great deal to get the maximum rise!

Amish Friendship Bread at High Altitude

Dec 09, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Chris Question:
Hi. I made some Amish Friendship bread, it is like a cake, but baked in small loaf pans. Every time I make it, it falls in the middle. I live at a "high" altitude, and I made the adjustments necessary, but the bread still falls. What can I do to fix this problem?

Rose Reply:
when you say you've made all the adjustments for high altitude i'm assuming you also decreased the amount of liquid. many people do the reverse bc of the dry air at high altitude but moisture in the bread results in a higher rise which then collapses bc the structure can't support it. aside from that, try using a flour with a higher protein content.

if you're using bleached all purpose use unbleached. if that doesn't do the trick try bread flour.

Bread Questions

Dec 02, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

A New Bread Coming Soon
those of you who are avid sour dough bread bakers, start getting your starters ready because in a few weeks i’m going to post one of the best bread recipes i’ve ever tasted from the wonderful restaurant primo in maine. i’ve tested it every which way but lose and have to admit that price, baker/co owner, is 100% right when he said you have to have a starter for this bread to come out right. it’s a carmelized onion focaccia and you’ll LOVE it!

Manrique Question:
Dear Ms. Levy Beranbaum,

I recently bought a copy of The Bread Bible and I read it when I go to bed! I also try out some recipes, of course. Thank you for your such an interesting book.

I've been trying to make baguettes and I'm getting better at it. I do have a question regarding the scrap dough described on page 337. You describe the mixture as "very soft and sticky" but I find that 57.5 grams of flour plus 1.2 grams of salt do not get soft and sticky if I add two tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of yeast water. Are the quantities that you indicate correct?

Thank you very much for your time.


Rose Reply:
i notice you are writing from another country so i bet your flour has a higher protein content and is therefore absorbing more water. OR you are measuring and not weighing and getting more flour than i specified. either way, add more unyeasted water until you get the proper consistency.

Christine Question:
Hi Rose,

I love this new site. Thank you for all your hard work.

Here's my question. When I want to double a yeast bread recipe, should I also double the amount of yeast? One cookbook I consulted says you should double all the ingredients except the yeast. Maybe you've discussed this in "Bread Bible," (which holds an esteemed place on my bookshelf, by the way) but I haven't been able to find the answer.

Thank you!

Rose Reply:
thank you! i always double the yeast when i double the recipe. i have also read that less yeast is required when recipes are increased but i’m quite sure, especially from experience, that this refers to larger increases. yeast and bread dough seem to behave differently in larger amounts.

Cheryl Question:
Hi Rose;
I have baked from your books for years, and love the Cake Bible, and the Pie Bible and am working my way through the Bread Bible. I've loved everything but tonight I finished baking the panetonne and am somewhat disappointed on two accounts. One, it is barely sweet--almost a non-sweet taste, I would say--and second, the flor de sicilia (which I measured very carefully) has left the bread bitter. I did not alter the recipe at all and it rose beautifully and has a great texture. Is is possible that more sugar or corn syrup should have appeared in the recipe?

Thank you for your help.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Barbara Question:
If I use the mini paper molds (individual serving size) instead of the 6”x4” size, what adjustments in time do I need to make at step 8 (final shape and rise) and step 10 baking)?

Thanks very much. Your recipes are always the best ever!

Rose Reply:
smaller panettone bake for 25 to 35 minutes. since the unbaked dough will rise to almost 3 times its height, and it’s nice to have it rise a little above the paper liners during baking, i would fill them about ¾ full.

Joyce Question:
Hi, I have a recipe from a 1941 cookbook that calls for 1 cake of yeast. Can I use the fresh yeast sold in supermarkets are they the same weight now as then? Also what would be the measurement for active dry yeast?

Thanks for all your help. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Rose Reply:

i can’t tell you the size of the cake of yeast but i can tell you about how much yeast to use in relation to the amount of flour in the recipe. also, i’m a great beliver in instant yeast. for 1 cup of bread flour use about ¼ teaspoon instant yeast. if using active dry add a tiny bit more. if using all purpose flour instead of bread flour use a scant ¼ teaspoon instant yeast. these proportions are for the basic hearth bread but if you’re making a bread with a lot of eggs and butter such as a brioche you will need to double the yeast

Lou Question:
Hi Rose,

First, let me start by telling you that I have all of the "Bibles" and they are fantastic. I have yet to have a recipe not come out perfect and I cannot thank you enough for that. Your cheescake and flourless chocolate cake are amazing and I have been asked countless times to make them for friends and co-workers. My new favorite is the Linzertorte. I have a bread question that I hope you can help me with.

My favorite bread is the Italian bread that is is found in all of the good bakeries (especially the ones in the Bronx). It is called a Bastone and it is torpedo shaped and covered with sesame seeds. I have searched high and low and cannot find a recipe for it. I have made your Ciabatta and Puglise and they were great, so I am hoping you might have a recipe.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.


Rose Reply:
thank you so much lou for your kind words. i’m sorry to disappoint you but this is not a bread that i have pursued. have you checked carol field’s book “the italian baker?” if she doesn’t have it i don’t know who would. do try the primo focaccia that i plan to post in a few weeks. i think it might make you forgive me for my lapse!

Sarah Question:
Hi! I made your chocolate chocolate chip bread twice and I think I'm doing something wrong. Everything goes really good until I add the second half of the cocoa paste in two additions. Once it is all incorporated the batter starts to look kind of grainy and possibly loses volume as well. The final product loses some butter which you can actually see almost condensing on the parchment paper used to line the loaf pan, and the flavor is almost a little watery. I followed the timing instructions exactly. Am I overbeating or something?

Rose Reply:
it sounds to me like the butter is too cold and can’t stay in suspension. it needs to be soft but squishable (65 to 75 degrees F). it shouldn’t be too soft or warm either. as for the flavor being watery—i wonder what kind of cocoa you are using and perhaps you should try another as this quick bread is intensely chocolatey. try the organic green and black which is fantastic.

Betsy Question:
Dear Rose-- Love your Bread Bible.

Question: I have been trying to perfect the sacaduros and am running into a few snags.
The dough looks exactly like your drawings but the finished product does not look like the last drawing. I just don't feel like they poof up enough during baking. I have been baking bread for a long time so feel like I know what I am doing.

So my question is: do the rolls need to rise for a bit before you bake them, or only while you are getting the whole pan of them ready?

Also--what causes the outer part of the roll to be "too" hard?

Thanks a million.

Rose Reply:
at daniel they did not let them rise before baking but maybe since they were doing a larger quantity they started to rise by the time the last ones were done. it wouldn’t hurt to try letting them rise a little. is suspect that would solve the problem. i was there a couple of weeks ago and found myself giggling bc the saccadoros were so hard on the outside i had trouble breaking into them with my fingers! they are a special treat so they are not always available. now that you’ve made them you know why—they’re very labor intensive!

if you would prefer for them to be softer, you could add some oil to the dough. when i want to make softer hamburger buns from my basic heart bread recipe i just add ¼ cup oil for 1 pound/3 cups flour.

Mitch Question:
I have made your recipe for sacaduros rolls. They are delicious but I am having trouble in having them open up during baking. I think I am sealing it too much when I cross over the dough. Got any hints?

Rose Reply:
i’m thrilled to hear you’re trying this recipe as my editor and i deliberated long and hard as to whether to sacrifice so many book pages to it! please see my reply above re letting them rise a little after shaping and yes, seal a little less firmly as they won’t open if sealed too tightly.

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