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therattle
Jul 24, 2007

I'm a family man - I run a family business. This is my son and my partner, H.W.


Soiled Meat

There have been a few specific bread threads on GWS, but no general bread thread for a while. I would like to start one, laying out some basics of baking, and then opening it up for questions and comments. I have been baking for about 4 years, started by a bread machine that was a wedding present. I wasn't satisfied with the taste and texture of the bread it produced: it was like a better version of supermarket/mass-produced bread. That led me to no-knead baking (as I am a lazy, lazy man), which I love, and have been working at for a good while now (see the no-knead baking thread here: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=3460932

However, if I have not remembered to put on a batch of dough, or want to make something at short notice, I also make bread the traditional way, with kneading (sometimes by hand, but mostly using a KitchenAid).

I am an enthusiastic amateur, but there are others on this forum who know a lot more than I do, and even some amazing pros like dad., who have taken baking to a whole new level. I am sure that some of what I say isn't 100% correct, and hope that they will put me right.

Here are some basics.

Basic Ingredients
Bread, at its simplest, is made up of four ingredients:

1. Flour. This is usually wheat but can be any number of grains, or other grains plus wheat. Wheat is traditional as it has a high gluten content (11% or higher). Gluten is a protein contained in flour. When exposed to water, gluten, which is kinked, starts to straighten. It then needs some motion to stimulate that process (the yeast expanding in no-knead accomplishes this; with regular kneading, the kneading does it, as well as help the flour absorb the water). The straightened gluten strands are then able to trap gas, which allows the bread to rise. This explains it better than I possibly could:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/06/...nead-dough.html

There are many different types of flour. If you are starting out, just begin with ordinary strong white (or bread) flour. The "strong" and "bread" descriptors indicate the higher gluten content. Good ingredients matter. I am in the UK and like flour from Shipton Mill; Dove's Farm is pretty good for a more widely-available flour, as are certain own-brands like Waitrose. I believe that in the US King Arthur is good.

2. Yeast. This is the raising agent. The complex blend of yeasts and bacteria consume sugars in the bread and generate various acids and alcohols (which add flavour), and gas (CO2), which allows the rise. Sourdough starters are specific varietals or combinations of yeasts which are living in a dough, as opposed to yeasts which you can buy in various forms. With time, the different by-products of the fermentation process increase in strength and complexity, which is why bread made with a sourdough starter will taste better than one made with ordinary yeast, and why a no-knead will have a better flavour than a bread made with just yeast, kneading, rising and baking. As a rule, longer fermentation leads to better flavour.

3. Liquid, usually water but can be buttermilk, whey, yoghurt, etc, or a combination. More liquid leads to an airier loaf, but a trickier dough to work. Some flours, like wholemeal, require more water than white bread flour does.

4. Salt. A bit of salt is crucial for flavour.

Technique

The simplest way of making bread (with kneading) generally follows this template:

1. Dry ingredients are combined. (Note: where possible, always weigh ingredients, rather than use volume).
2. Wet ingredients are added and stirred in until a dough is formed.
3. The bread is kneaded until it starts developing a structure. By hand this takes 8-10 minutes, and no special technique is needed. You'll feel it change from a sticky mass to a more coherent, smooth lump of dough. In a mixer with a dough hook it takes about 2-3 minutes on a low speed. When the dough is stretched you will see that strands of gluten have developed.
4. The dough is covered and is allowed to rest and rise ("prove") until roughly doubled in size. Yeast is very sensitive to temperature, so this might take 45 mins (warm), it might take 2.5 hours (cool).
5. The dough is "knocked back" - this allows for gasses and temperature to be evened out, and to help realign the gluten. Folding accomplishes these goals well.
6. The folded dough is shaped, then covered again to rise. Put your oven on.
7. When roughly doubled again, it is ready to bake. A simple rule of thumb for whether it has risen too much (over-proofed), or too little (under-proofed), is to stick your finger in it. If it springs back quickly, it has some rising still to go. If the indentation remains, you've left it too long - bake quickly! If it springs back slowly, you're good to go.
8. Slash your dough. This allows the oven rise (oven spring) to affect the bread in a controlled way, so the crust doesn't split messily. I find that a good serrated bread knife works much better than a custom lame, razor blade, or scalpel.
9. Bake your bread. Bread usually takes a high temperature (230C/445F), and time varies depending on size. Once done, the base of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
10. Cool. Important! Don't tear into your bread immediately, tempting as it is. This will allow steam to escape, and will probably also give you a stomach ache. Allow at least 30 mins.

The Ratio
Many recipes and discussions use ratios to discuss ingredients, especially hydration (level of liquid). This is usually expressed as a percentage of the flour used. For example, if one has a loaf with 500g flour, 300ml (or 300g) of water would equate to a hydration level of 60%.


My standard loaf (if there is such a thing) is a no-knead with about 30% white spelt flour and 70% unbleached organic white bread flour (both from Shipton Mill), with 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 tsp salt, about 65% hydration, and I also add in some sourdough starter for additional flavour. I bake for 40 minutes in a 230C oven in one of these:
http://bakerybits.co.uk/La-Cloche-B...e-P2026497.aspx
which has hugely improved my bread's oven spring and appearance.

There is an infinite amount of variation in baking: different flours, techniques, shapes, recipes, additional ingredients - which makes baking so satisfying. In my experience, I have never really had a real disaster when experimenting, provided that some basic common sense was used and the general technique (whether regular or no-knead) applied. Even if you do screw up, ingredients tend to be cheap anyway.

There are a lot of resources on the web. King Arthur has some good recipes (e.g., blitz focaccia, very easy, and this excellent no-knead oats bread:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/reci...at-bread-recipe). Other forums like The Fresh Loaf are also useful.

So, goons, have at it! Post your bread questions, experiences, success stories, disasters - as long as its about bread!

As a starter, here are some loaves I've made:

Basic white no-knead.


I think this is the King Arthur oats recipe.


Everyone screws up a bit sometimes: Rosh Hashonah challah, made with too much liquid so that they spread badly and were impossible to shape. (They tasted pretty good though).


My standard white/spelt loaf with a different slash pattern.

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mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
about pizza cones!


Great thread! I love bread. Like, in a sinful way. It has been said that good bread is better than cake.

So. True.

The admonishment to wait is a good one. Cutting in early will let all the steam escape from your cut face, resulting in a large piece of really gummy bread. That's no fun.

One thing to remember - most breads are done when they hit an internal temperature of 205 degrees Fahrenheit or so. If you're baking a loaf, just stick a temperature probe in it, set it to beep when it hits that temperature, and you won't need to check on your bread for doneness ever again. It's been a big help in my baking endeavors.

Oh also: as said, bread without salt is just...not bread at all. Certainly not bread worth eating. If you forget to add salt (or even yeast) until after you make your dough, don't worry too much - it's still fixable. Add the missing component to a bit of water, and then really (I mean really) work it into your dough. If the dough is too wet after, add a bit more flour to compensate. I've done this more than once to good effect. It's worth tasting and smelling your dough to make sure you've put in all the things that you wish to put in.

P.S. - if anyone is looking for an excellent, excellent book, I have to recommend The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It is a tremendous compendium on how to bake what will likely be the best bread of your life.

mediaphage fucked around with this message at Oct 10, 2012 around 13:47

Mr. Wiggles
Dec 1, 2003

I would never shop at Costco. The paper towels won't fit into my sports car!

I make all the bread that we eat. I normally don't take photos, though. Maybe I will this weekend. Usually I just make big country loafs in regular loaf pans because they're pretty convenient for school lunch and toast and all that. But a couple of times a week there's going to be pizza dough or focaccia or rolls or biscuits or cornbread or something.

Bake bread all the time it's the best thing.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
about pizza cones!


Mr. Wiggles posted:

I make all the bread that we eat.

Bake bread all the time it's the best thing.

Yessssss this.

Casu Marzu
Oct 20, 2008



Mr. Wiggles posted:

I make all the bread that we eat. I normally don't take photos, though. Maybe I will this weekend. Usually I just make big country loafs in regular loaf pans because they're pretty convenient for school lunch and toast and all that. But a couple of times a week there's going to be pizza dough or focaccia or rolls or biscuits or cornbread or something.

Bake bread all the time it's the best thing.

Yeeeep. I usually do two high hydration sourdough baguettes and two loaves of whole wheat sandwich breads a week. So good, so easy.

daggerdragon
Jan 22, 2006

My titan engine can kick your titan engine's ass.

therattle posted:

In a mixer with a dough hook

So that's what that weird useless hook thing is for!

I never made bread before because it just looks so complicated and I'm just so lazy to knead. My KitchenAid was the best gift ever, and if you're telling me that I can use it to MAKE my bread for me, well then, I've got something to try this weekend!

Thanks!

Casu Marzu
Oct 20, 2008



daggerdragon posted:

So that's what that weird useless hook thing is for!

I never made bread before because it just looks so complicated and I'm just so lazy to knead. My KitchenAid was the best gift ever, and if you're telling me that I can use it to MAKE my bread for me, well then, I've got something to try this weekend!

Thanks!

Do it! If you have a KA, it's as simple as put stuff in bowl, pull lever, wait

Thumposaurus
Jul 24, 2007



There's a Tuscan bread that I used to make at the old bakery I worked at that didn't use salt in it.

I've always found a serrated knife gets you jagged cuts in the loaf. It also helps to do it as fast as possible.
Everyone should sacrifice a loaf too and just let it go and over proof just so you can see what it looks like.
A lot of times people have a tendancy to underproof breads. If a loaf tears when it's baked it was underproofed.
I've personally seen loaves we thought were too far gone and over proofed bake up into the most beautiful bread.

Rad ROM Max
Mar 9, 2011

by XyloJW


Please don't over do this you guys
bread has an enormous health impact on the human body and I wouldn't want to see anyone get hurt.

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
about pizza cones!


baku posted:

Please don't over do this you guys
bread has an enormous health impact on the human body and I wouldn't want to see anyone get hurt.
Ugh, go away.

Mr. Wiggles
Dec 1, 2003

I would never shop at Costco. The paper towels won't fit into my sports car!

baku posted:

Please don't over do this you guys
bread has an enormous health impact on the human body and I wouldn't want to see anyone get hurt.

The enormous health impact is that bread is good for you, and is the cornerstone of healthy and wholesome living.

therattle
Jul 24, 2007

I'm a family man - I run a family business. This is my son and my partner, H.W.


Soiled Meat

Uh, guys, I don't think he/she was being serious. At least, I hope not. Baked a loaf tonight and the house smells wonderful.

hyper from Pixie Sticks
Sep 28, 2004



baku posted:

bread has an enormous health impact on the human body and I wouldn't want to see anyone get hurt.
I asked a doctor about this, and he said "What the gently caress are you talking about? Bread is delicious. Make bread. Eat bread."

(He wasn't a medical doctor, but I still feel it's advice worth following)

pim01
Oct 22, 2002



Any opinions on bread making machines? My little white Panasonic box has been great for making sure there's nice fresh bread during the week, even when the working days run to stupid hours and there's hardly time to cook, let alone knead and proof and bake.

I've actually been pleasantly surprised with the results - not as good as properly handmade bread, but being able to set a timer and being woken up by the smell of fresh bread makes up for a lot.

loki k zen
Nov 12, 2011

Keep close the words of Syadasti: 'TIS AN ILL WIND THAT BLOWS NO MINDS. And remember that there is no tyranny in the State of Confusion. For further information, consult your pineal gland.


I've been making home bread for a couple months and it's totally edible but has a tendency to be dry and crumbly.

I'm following recipies off the internet like this one: http://low-cholesterol.food.com/rec...-minutes-260345

Not 100% sure what I'm doing wrong - would letting the dough go in a little stickier help?

Does anyone know where you could get rice paste for tiger bread in the UK? I can't find it anywhere.

Otm Shank
Mar 5, 2005
Mir raucht den Kopf!!!

I asked this in the general thread but maybe I'll get more tips here:

I want to bring a loaf of fresh baked bread (challah, specifically) to work in the morning but I don't want to get up at the crack of dawn to start it. Would it work to refrigerate the braided loaf overnight then let it sit at room temp for a couple hours before baking? Should I do this before or after the final rise?
How can I keep the raw loaf from getting gross and crusty in my fridge?

Happy Hat
Aug 11, 2008

He just wants someone to shake his corks, is that too much to ask??


Thumposaurus posted:

There's a Tuscan bread that I used to make at the old bakery I worked at that didn't use salt in it.

I think that is the trademark of Tuscan bread in general, that and being a bit stale I think?

therattle
Jul 24, 2007

I'm a family man - I run a family business. This is my son and my partner, H.W.


Soiled Meat

Otm Shank posted:

I asked this in the general thread but maybe I'll get more tips here:

I want to bring a loaf of fresh baked bread (challah, specifically) to work in the morning but I don't want to get up at the crack of dawn to start it. Would it work to refrigerate the braided loaf overnight then let it sit at room temp for a couple hours before baking? Should I do this before or after the final rise?
How can I keep the raw loaf from getting gross and crusty in my fridge?
I would do first rise, knock down/fold, refrigerate covered with a damp cloth or lightly oiled plastic film, then remove from fridge, shape/braid, and allow to come to room temp and rise. You could shape first but I'd rather do after. The fridge portion will enhance your flavour.

pim01 posted:

Any opinions on bread making machines? My little white Panasonic box has been great for making sure there's nice fresh bread during the week, even when the working days run to stupid hours and there's hardly time to cook, let alone knead and proof and bake.

I've actually been pleasantly surprised with the results - not as good as properly handmade bread, but being able to set a timer and being woken up by the smell of fresh bread makes up for a lot.
I did enjoy waking up to bread but the quality just wasn't there for me. I find that no knead, while not quite as easy, takes very little time with a bit of practice: 5-10 mins tops to weigh and mix, same again to shape. I make dough before work, shape before making dinner, stick it in the oven while we eat. The difference in quality greatly outweighs the increased time. No comparison (and like I said, I'm lazy and have a baby, so time is limited!)

loki k zen posted:

I've been making home bread for a couple months and it's totally edible but has a tendency to be dry and crumbly.

I'm following recipies off the internet like this one: http://low-cholesterol.food.com/rec...-minutes-260345

Not 100% sure what I'm doing wrong - would letting the dough go in a little stickier help?

Does anyone know where you could get rice paste for tiger bread in the UK? I can't find it anywhere.

That looks like a very low-hydration dough. I'd definitely try more water.

You don't buy rice paste: the Internet sez that you make a paste using rice FLOUR, which should be fairly widely available.

therattle fucked around with this message at Oct 11, 2012 around 21:45

daggerdragon
Jan 22, 2006

My titan engine can kick your titan engine's ass.

For some reason, I had bread flour on hand, yippee! I open the bag and it had little tiny brown bugs in it.

How about no.

DrHub
Jun 21, 2012


daggerdragon posted:

For some reason, I had bread flour on hand, yippee! I open the bag and it had little tiny brown bugs in it.

How about no.

Next time, if the flour is in a paper bag, put it in the freezer. It will be good for more or less one year.

colonp
Apr 21, 2007
Hi!

...

colonp fucked around with this message at Mar 8, 2014 around 17:10

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005

Now, in the quantum moment before the closure, when all become one. One moment left. One point of space and time. I know who you are.

You are destiny.


colonp posted:

It is my impression that white wheat flour is not worth a lot nutritionally. Is that wrong?

Coarse, hardass bread is the best bread. Make that poo poo into the roughest thing you can knead safely and eat the tastiest bread you can get.

loki k zen
Nov 12, 2011

Keep close the words of Syadasti: 'TIS AN ILL WIND THAT BLOWS NO MINDS. And remember that there is no tyranny in the State of Confusion. For further information, consult your pineal gland.


colonp posted:

It is my impression that white wheat flour is not worth a lot nutritionally. Is that wrong?

Depends on what you mean by nutrition.

It has shittons of carbohydrate, which is one of the primary macronutrients we need. It contains calories, and therefore it feeds you and gives you energy. It does so without containing a large quantity of sugar or fat, which people in developed countries sometimes need to cut down on.

If you mean does it have a lot of different vitamins and minerals, no it doesn't, but not everything we eat has to. They're called micronutrients because we need less of them. If you mean does it have antioxidants or superfoods or whatever, you need to stop listening to the people you're listening to re: nutrition.

Also IIRC, a lot of bread flour in the US is fortified with micronutrients anyway, making it even more good for you if that's where you're from and you get the right flour.

Thanks for the tips on the bread anyway - I will look for a recipe with more water and some rice flour. Some of the recipes I've seen call for butter and some don't - what do you guys think about that?

NosmoKing
Nov 12, 2004

I have a rifle and a frying pan and I know how to use them

I've been baking no-knead bread all the time recently. I've been using the artisan bread in 5 min a day recipes and techniques. Basically a 50% ish hydration dough that you keep in the refrigerator and hack a hunk off of when it's time to bake. Let it bench proof for a bit, slash, put in 450 degree oven. Makes decent bread and it's so much faster than the more complicated methods.

I asked this in the last bread thread and got no response, so I'm going to try again. Anyone have a good lavash recipe and or tips on making it??

wafflesnsegways
Jan 12, 2008
And that's why I was forced to surgically attach your hands to your face.

This thread arrived just in time! I started my first sourdough starter last week, following instructions in a Peter Reinhart book.

His instructions say to feed the starter at a starter:flour ratio of 1:3. But I see online, it's common to do 1:1. Any advantages to using a larger amount of fresh flour? If not, I'll be happy to cut down my the amount of flour I'm throwing at this thing.

TychoCelchuuu
Jan 2, 2012

This space for Rent.

Least year in December I decided to learn how to bake bread. I made a few loaves and realized it was pretty easy, so I decided I wanted to learn how to make sourdough. I made a started and it turned out that was pretty easy too. Fast forward to now and I've been more or less making a loaf a week of sourdough bread, plus a loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread for whenever I feel like sandwiches, which is not very often. I either knead by hand or in my food processor if I don't feel like kneading. I don't have kids and I never had pets as a child so keeping my sourdough starter alive is pretty much the closest I've come to taking care of anything living for a significant period of time. Although I suppose it's technically thousands of living things which I do a fairly bad job of keeping alive because I often kill them in an over. I'm yeast Hitler.

dad.
Apr 25, 2010


Otm Shank posted:

I asked this in the general thread but maybe I'll get more tips here:

I want to bring a loaf of fresh baked bread (challah, specifically) to work in the morning but I don't want to get up at the crack of dawn to start it. Would it work to refrigerate the braided loaf overnight then let it sit at room temp for a couple hours before baking? Should I do this before or after the final rise?
How can I keep the raw loaf from getting gross and crusty in my fridge?

if you retard the loaf for any amount of time after forming, the crust will have blisters which might be pretty on a sourdough, but not really what you're aiming for in challah. If anything, prove it to the point where it would go in the oven, egg wash it, and freeze it. Bake it for a longer period of time at a slightly lower temperature. the loaf will shrink a little in the freezer due to thermal expansion, but it will rebound.

Happy Hat
Aug 11, 2008

He just wants someone to shake his corks, is that too much to ask??


dad. posted:

if you retard the loaf for any amount of time after forming, the crust will have blisters which might be pretty on a sourdough, but not really what you're aiming for in challah. If anything, prove it to the point where it would go in the oven, egg wash it, and freeze it. Bake it for a longer period of time at a slightly lower temperature. the loaf will shrink a little in the freezer due to thermal expansion, but it will rebound.

Defrost before baking, or straight in an oven?

Happiness Commando
Feb 1, 2002
$$ joy at gunpoint $$



My current go-to bread recipe is a a generic flatbread that I cook in a cast iron skillet since thats quicker to heat than my oven/stone.

1.5 cups flour, half whole wheat half white
2/3 cup water
1 tsp each salt, sugar, yeast
1/2 tbsp oil

45 minutes to an hour for the first rise, separate into three dough balls and give them another 20ish minutes to relax and poof up a little more. Then stretch out into discs and bake.

Tasty.

My next project is to get a silly little dough hook for a hand mixer so that I can put it on my electric drill. We dont need no stinkin' Kitchenaids.

dad.
Apr 25, 2010


Happy Hat posted:

Defrost before baking, or straight in an oven?

The process would go:
1. Finish forming. first egg wash.
2. Prove to baking volume, second egg wash, place in freezer.
3. Freeze until egg wash is dry and loaf is cold/firm (doesn't necessarily mean frozen solid), wrap in plastic, store for no more than a week.
4. remove from freezer and place in preheated oven

This is all contingent on using good, not old yeast.

Happy Hat
Aug 11, 2008

He just wants someone to shake his corks, is that too much to ask??


dad. posted:

The process would go:
1. Finish forming. first egg wash.
2. Prove to baking volume, second egg wash, place in freezer.
3. Freeze until egg wash is dry and loaf is cold/firm (doesn't necessarily mean frozen solid), wrap in plastic, store for no more than a week.
4. remove from freezer and place in preheated oven

This is all contingent on using good, not old yeast.

Thanks!

Big Bad Voodoo Lou
Jan 1, 2006


Does anyone have a foolproof brioche recipe? The only bread I make from scratch is a slightly sweet (due to honey) challah that everyone loves, but I never bother to braid it.

Anyway, all the best higher-end burger joints in town serve their burgers on incredible brioche buns from one local artisan bakery that doesn't sell directly to the public, and they are AWESOME. I'd love to make brioche buns or rolls or something like that for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Happy Hat
Aug 11, 2008

He just wants someone to shake his corks, is that too much to ask??


I may have an ever so slight accent..

hyper from Pixie Sticks
Sep 28, 2004



"The last loaf rose much better than you. I bet you can't even get a good crust. You're pathetic!"

Rule .303
Dec 9, 2011
(Instructions are just some other guy's opinion)

IfIWereARichMan posted:


My next project is to get a silly little dough hook for a hand mixer so that I can put it on my electric drill. We dont need no stinkin' Kitchenaids.

They used to make a hand dough mixer, it looks like a 2 Gallon bucket with a hand-cranked dough hook inside. I've been tempted to buy used ones, but they are always in such wonderful, clean condition I figure they are such a bitch to use no-one ever uses them twice.

Kitchen Aids are....better than an ergo-keyboard.

Does the egg-wash do anything for the flavor, or is it mostly for the browning of the crust?

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005

Now, in the quantum moment before the closure, when all become one. One moment left. One point of space and time. I know who you are.

You are destiny.


Happy Hat posted:

I may have an ever so slight accent..



Apparently I need to get my Danish friend to say things to my phone. What we're you trying to say?

Voronoi Potato
Apr 3, 2010


My apartment cannot fit an oven. I can get a toaster oven, or a bread maker. I loved making bread in high school (even though I was terrible at it) and would like to continue making it. I think I might prefer a toaster oven but I'm not sure I can afford the bread maker AND the toaster oven. As a result I need a toaster oven big enough to accommodate the bread. Do any tiny apt bread goons have recommendations or will any decent toaster oven do. The one i'm looking at is .6 cubic feet which seems like it should be enough.

Happy Hat
Aug 11, 2008

He just wants someone to shake his corks, is that too much to ask??


Black Griffon posted:

Apparently I need to get my Danish friend to say things to my phone. What we're you trying to say?
'Remember the bread'

mediaphage
Mar 22, 2007

Ricola-kun, tell me
about pizza cones!


Voronoi Potato posted:

My apartment cannot fit an oven. I can get a toaster oven, or a bread maker. I loved making bread in high school (even though I was terrible at it) and would like to continue making it. I think I might prefer a toaster oven but I'm not sure I can afford the bread maker AND the toaster oven. As a result I need a toaster oven big enough to accommodate the bread. Do any tiny apt bread goons have recommendations or will any decent toaster oven do. The one i'm looking at is .6 cubic feet which seems like it should be enough.

Oh heavens, buy the toaster oven!

I haven't bought one in a while, but we went and measured the internal space of a few - as I'm sure you've found, they're all of such varied sizes. I would take care to buy the tallest one you can, since it will let your bread rise without worry.

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TychoCelchuuu
Jan 2, 2012

This space for Rent.

If you get a smallish toaster oven, instead of making a big loaf of bread you can shape the dough into smaller rolls, freeze them, and bake a roll whenever you want some bread.

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