A Treatise on Baking

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Wheat and Flour
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[ACH Foods, Inc., the copyright owner, has graciously permitted the reproduction of A Treatise on Baking, by Julius E. Wihlfahrt, in HTML format on the alt.bread.recipes FAQ Web site. You may link to it but you may not republish it in any other venue without written permission of ACH Foods, Inc.]

Chapter VI


I. Foreword
II. Definition of the Word “Malt”
III. Preparation of Malt Extract
  A. Cleaning of Barley Grain
  B. The Malting of Barley
    1. Description of the malting process
    2. The conversion of barley into malt explained
  C. The Mashing Process
  D. Concentration of the Extract of Malt
IV. The Composition of Malt Extract
V. History of the Use of Malt Extract in Bakery Products
VI. Diastatic and Non-Diastatic Malt Extracts
  A. Difference Between Diastatic and Non-Diastatic Malt Extracts
  B. Explanation of Diastase and Proteases in Malt
    1. The two-fold action of diastase on starch
    2. Non-diastatic malt extract is ideal for bakers’ use
    3. Undesirable results from the action of excessive proteolytic enzymes in diastatic malt extract
    4. Proteolytic enzymes in doughs must be limited
    5. Yeast and flour normally supply sufficient proteolytic enzymes for bread making
    6. Diastase and proteolytic performs a useful function in the preparation of malt extract
    7. The use of malt extract of moderate diastatic power
VII. Reasons Why Diamalt Is the Best Sugary Agent for Yeast Raised Products
  A. Diamalt Gives a Better Looking Loaf
    1. Richer bloom
    2. Increased loaf volume—improved grain and texture
  B. Diamalt Imparts a Delicious Flavor and Sweetness to the Loaf
  C. Diamalt Prolongs Freshness in Bread and Other Bakery Products
  D. Diamalt Adds Food Value
VIII. Diamalt Is the Most Economical Sugary Agent for Bakers’ Use
  A. Because it Improves the Quality of Bakery Products
  B. Because it Saves Time and Labor in the Bakery
  C. Because it Increases the Yield of Bread
IX. General Remarks Regarding Diamalt
  A. Amount of Diamalt to be Used in Various Yeast Raised Doughs
  B. Manner of Mixing Diamalt Into the Dough
  C. It is a Mistake to Dissolve Malt and Yeast Together in Water and Let Stand Before Using
    1. It produces an irregular fermentation and uncertain results
    2. It wastes sugar
  D. Table of Weights and Measures for Diamalt
  E. Diamalt and Milk Blend to Advantage
  F. The Use of Diamalt for Cookies
  G. Storage of Diamalt



Malt extract has established itself as an ideal sugary agent for use in bakery products. Malt extract not only supplies the sugar, “maltose” in order to meet the necessary sugar requirements of the dough, but also mineral salts and soluble protein which promote vigorous and healthy conditioning of the dough. This results in a loaf of better eating and keeping quality than can be secured from the use of other sugary agents.

However, it is important to note that there are different kinds of malt extract, which vary considerably in their properties and value for bakers’ use.

Years of careful research work in the laboratory, factory and bakery have resulted in the production of Diamalt, an ideal dough batch ingredient prepared especially for bakers’ use. Because Diamalt is the finest sugary agent for bakers’ use and because it also enhances the quality of bread and other baked goods from practically every angle,—is the reason why it is fast gaining general usage by those bakers who are striving to increase their sales through quality goods.

The general subject of malt extract is taken up in detail in the paragraphs which follow:—


Malt is sprouted grain. The dictionary defines malt as “grain that has been artificially germinated by moisture and heat.” According to this, there are various kinds of malt such as barley malt, corn malt, rice malt, etc. However, for baking purposes, that made from barley is generally used. In the baking industry the single word “malt” is generally used to designate malt extract which is a specially prepared concentrated syrup made by evaporating a water extract of barley malt.



After being harvested, the barley grain is carefully cleaned so as to remove all dirt and foreign seeds.

1. Description of the Malting Process

The cleaned barley is first soaked in warm water until completely moistened. Barley may be malted commercially in three different ways, —floor malting, drum malting and compartment malting. According to the floor malting process the barley is spread out on the floor of a malting room that is kept at a certain temperature and humidity which is most favorable for the sprouting of the barley. The barley is then turned over occasionally in order to aerate it and to prevent it from heating up. In the drum malting process the barley is placed in a drum which revolves slowly and through which the proper circulation of air is maintained. Compartment malting is quite similar to the drum malting process. In a few days little rootlets become noticeable on each grain and growth is allowed to continue until the shoots become about as long as the barley kernels. The growth of the sprouted grain or malt is then stopped by drying under carefully controlled conditions and at a temperature not high enough to kill the diastase and proteolytic enzymes. The malt is now ready for the preparation of malt extract.


2. The Conversion of Barley Into Malt Explained

The changes which occur during the malting of barley grain represent the wonderful work of nature whereby the production of malt extract is made possible. During the period in which the barley is being “sprouted,” certain enzymes known as “eytase,” “diastase” and “protease” are developed. A general definition of enzymes and detailed explanation of their action is found in Chapter XI—Section two. The enzymes of malt change the composition of the barley somewhat although the outward appearance of the barley grain is not greatly altered.

The enzyme known as “cytase” has the peculiar ability of dissolving the cell wall of the raw starch granules of the grain, thus making the contents available for the action of diastase.

Diastase has the power of converting this starch into maltose sugar, along with some dextrin and malto-dextrin. The enzymes known as proteases have the power of changing the protein present into simpler forms which will be readily soluble in water.


After drying, the sprouts are knocked off and removed. The malt is then ground and mixed with water at definitely controlled temperatures so as to form a mash. This is stirred for several hours, and in this manner the action of the malt enzymes is greatly stimulated and proceeds vigorously. Thus, the starch contained in the malted barley is converted to malt sugar, together with a small amount of malto-dextrin.

While the natural proteins of barley are not altogether soluble in water, they are converted into another form of proteins during sprouting and mashing which dissolve readily. In this way, the maltose, soluble protein and mineral salts of the barley malt dissolve out of the malted barley into the water present during the mashing process. The “spent” grain is then filtered off and a pure water extract of malt is thereby secured. The “spent” grain is then washed with water several times so that all of the soluble material is removed and collected in the water extract.


After being separated from the “spent” grains by filtering, the clear water solution of malt is placed in large vacuum pans and evaporated down until a heavy syrup remains in the form of malt extract. The diastatic strength of the malt extract produced as well as its content of dextrins can be largely controlled by the temperature maintained during the process of manufacture.

The manufacture of Diamalt is carefully controlled and samples of each batch are tested insuring uniformity in composition and quality day in and day out. The enzymes diastase and protease are eliminated from regular Diamalt and the amount of dextrins present are reduced to a minimum inasmuch as an excess of these factors in most instances have been found to be undesirable in the production of quality bread.


The composition of various brands of malt extract naturally vary to some extent depending on the raw materials used and process of manufacture. An average high grade malt extract would contain approximately 60 to 65% maltose, 5 1/2% to 6% soluble protein, 1 1/2% mineral matter, and some specially prepared malt extracts will contain ½ to 1% lactic acid. All of these substances play an important part in bread making and the function of each is described later on. These above constituents of malt extract are soluble in water and are carried in malt extract by the presence of about 20 to 25% of water. The subject of diastatic strength in malt extract is taken up in a separate section of this article.


Before explaining in detail, just why malt extract is the ideal sugary agent for bakers’ use, a bit of history regarding the development of the use of malt extract for this purpose will throw considerable light on the importance of employing a malt extract which is non-diastatic,—such as Diamalt.

In the early nineties, the bakers of Vienna recognized that malt extract possessed properties which would make it superior to ordinary sugar as a dough batch ingredient. They realized that malt extract would not only meet the sugar requirements of the dough, but also impart a distinctive delicious flavor to the loaf as well as added food value inasmuch as malt extract was known to contain certain nutritive substances similar to those present in the bran which is removed from flour in the process of milling.

Shortly after the use of malt extract in bread was started in Vienna, the idea was introduced into this country.

The bakers of the United States soon recognized certain definite advantages in the use of malt extract,—but to their disappointment, they also learned that with the use of any appreciable amount of this malt extract they were bound to encounter certain difficulties in their doughs which they could not overcome. In using enough of the malt extract to replace other sugars and to impart that delicious malt flavor to the loaf, the bakers found that their doughs became soft and sticky,—the interior of their malt loaves gummy, and dark,—and the crusts colored up too quickly in the oven.

In order to overcome this undesirable condition they were forced to reduce the amount of malt extract in their doughs to two pounds or even less per barrel of flour. In so doing, it was necessary to make up the necessary sugar required by the use of cane sugar. While the amount of malt extract which could be safely used imparted to the loaf a slight malt flavor and other advantages in a minor degree, the quantity of such highly diastatic malt extract which could be used was not sufficient to impart the malt characteristics to the extent desired. Thus the possibility of the production of a real malt loaf seemed quite remote. The bakers at that time therefore, were confronted with the problem of how to secure the benefits which the use of increased amounts of malt extract would afford, but at the same time to eliminate the objectionable action of the highly diastatic extract on the dough and finished loaf.

An intensive study of this problem showed that this undesirable condition in dough and bread brought about by excessive amounts of highly diastatic malt extracts was actually due to the action of the enzymes, diastase and protease, contained in such malt extract.

Therefore, in order to make possible the use of sufficient malt extract to supply the other advantages possessed by malt alone, a non-diastatic malt extract in the form of Diamalt was produced thus filling a much needed want.

In the foregoing paragraphs the development of the use of* malt extract for baking purposes in this country has been traced very briefly.

One of the main differences between the various types of malt extract now sold for bakers’ use is their diastatic strength and it is therefore, important for every baker to understand just what is meant by the terms diastatic and non-diastatic. This subject is explained in the paragraphs which follow.



A diastatic malt extract is one which contains appreciable amounts of the enzyme “diastase.” Diastatic malt extracts vary considerably in strength, some being much higher in diastase than others. The diastatic strength of any malt extract is usually expressed by the chemist in terms of “degrees Lintner.” A non-diastatic malt extract is one in which the active diastase has been killed and eliminated. The color of a malt extract is not an indicator of the amount of diastase contained.

In addition to the enzyme diastase, diastatic malt extracts contain enzymes known as proteases or proteolytic enzymes, and usually the more diastase, the more protease and vice versa. In like manner, non-diastatic malt extracts being free from diastase are also free from proteases.

1. The Two-fold Action of Diastase on Starch

Diastase has been mentioned several times in previous paragraphs, as an enzyme which causes starch to be converted into the sugar maltose. Careful study along this line has shown that this action of diastase takes place in two steps.— (1) it liquefies starch granules and (2) it converts this liquefied starch into maltose sugar and dextrines. Some investigators believe that this two-fold action of Diastase is actually due to two different enzymes, namely—a starch liquefying diastase and a starch transforming diastase.

At any rate, these two functions of the diastase contained in diastatic malt extract always occur together.

2. Non-Diastatic Malt Extract Is Ideal for Bakers’ Use

While in a bread dough the controlled production of maltose from starch would be an advantage, it seems practically impossible for this to take place without also the formation of some liquefied starch and dextrins. Therefore, the benefits which might be gained by the formation of malt sugar from starch in a bread dough through the action of a highly diastatic malt extract are partially offset by the accompanying liquefying effect which tends to slacken the dough and to lower the amount of water which can be carried by the dough. It is an error to entertain the opinion that in actual practice the use of a very small amount of highly diastatic malt extract in a dough will produce the same desirable results as much larger amounts of non-diastatic malt extract. The numerous benefits contributed to the dough and finished loaf by the other constituents of malt extract aside from its malt sugar are lessened if only a small amount of highly diastatic malt extract is used. Hence, the desirability of using a non-diastatic malt extract in larger amounts,—becomes obvious.

3. Undesirable Results From the Action of Excessive Proteolytic Enzymes in Diastatic Malt Extract

The disadvantages attending the use of highly diastatic malts however, are due partly to the proteolytic enzymes or proteases which occur naturally along with diastase in highly diastatic malt extracts. These proteolytic enzymes are the ones which act on the protein material, making it soluble in water. In the dough batch such action softens the gluten,—and eventually causes it to liquefy. If, by any chance too much diastatic malt is used, and if the flour is not particularly strong or if the dough gets a little too old, the gluten is broken down. The dough becomes soft, sticky and hard to handle through the machines. Excessive amounts of dusting flour are required and the result is a dark soggy coarse loaf.

4. Proteolytic Enzymes in Doughs Must Be Limited

In the above statements concerning diastatic and non-diastatic malt extract, the writer does not wish to convey the idea that the enzymes

diastase and protease have no value or useful function in bread making, for it is a known fact that with the present methods of bread making, “limited” quantities of these enzymes play an important part in the proper conditioning of the dough, and there are a few exceptions where the baker may resort to the use of a diastatic malt. These are mainly in cases where the flour employed is unusually hard, or where the water is exceptionally hard or alkaline, and also in some doughs from which hearth bread and hearth rolls are made.

5. Yeast and Flour Normally Supply Sufficient Proteolytic Enzymes for Bread Making

Under ordinary conditions, nature has provided sufficient proteolytic enzymes in both the flour and yeast for the best conditioning of the dough, and any appreciable amount of these enzymes added by other ingredients results in an excess which as explained above is detrimental to the production of uniform bread of the highest quality.

6. Diastase and Proteolytic Enzymes Perform a Useful Function in the Preparation of Malt Extract

In the preparation of any malt extract, the development of diastase and protease in the sprouted barley is very important, inasmuch as the action of these enzymes in malt during the mashing process makes possible the presence of malt sugar and soluble protein in the final malt extract. However, after these enzymes have done their important work in the barley malt, experience has demonstrated that for most ordinary baking purposes it is not desirable to have them carried over into the finished malt extract. Thus in the preparation of Regular Diamalt, diastase and protease are killed. In this way, all the disadvantages of a highly diastatic malt extract are eliminated and Regular Diamalt can therefore be used in amounts sufficient to enable the baker to obtain,—reflected in his loaf,—the superior characteristics which Diamalt affords.

7. The Use of Malt Extract of Moderate Diastatic Power

As explained above, in most instances the use of a liberal amount of non-diastatic malt will impart to the loaf certain superior characteristics which can not be obtained from the use of any other sugary agent in the dough.

The amount of a diastatic malt extract which can be employed is limited by its diastatic strength and its advantages in the dough batch are limited accordingly.

However, some bakers still favor the use of a diastatic malt extract of medium strength (about 60 degrees Lintner) such as Special Diamalt. Such a malt extract when used in proper amounts imparts a silky luster to the crumb as well as a deep crust color to the finished products. Some bakers prefer it for their roll doughs. Naturally, due to the activity of the malt enzymes as previously explained the amount of diastatic malt which can be successfully employed in a given dough is less than the amount of non-diastatic malt which could be used.


As explained previously, ordinary forms of sugar employed in bread making do only four things, namely:

  1. Supply carbohydrate food to support yeast activity
  2. Furnish source of carbon dioxide gas to raise the dough.
  3. Act as a sweetening agent.
  4. Impart crust color or bloom by caramelizing in the oven during the baking process.

In a “nut-shell” the one reason why it is preferable to use Diamalt is because it not only performs all of the functions of sugar but in addition, —it definitely improves practically every characteristic of the loaf, resulting in better bread than could be secured with any other sugary agent alone.

This means economy of production, increased sales, better satisfied customers and increased profits for the baker.

It may be of interest to point out step by step just why and how the use of Diamalt improves the quality factors of the loaf.

1. Richer Bloom

Diamalt is mostly made up of malt sugar or maltose, which is very readily caramelized in the oven, imparting to the crust a rich and appealing bloom.

2. Increased Loaf Volume—Improved Grain and Texture

Because of its composition, Diamalt invigorates yeast activity to a much greater extent than any other sugary agent. This tends to improve the hydration of the gluten, making it more pliable and extensible,— results in a vigorous fermentation and complete conditioning of the dough. This means a healthy dough which stands up well in the pans,—insuring exceptionally good oven spring and a loaf of excellent shape and volume. The Diamalt loaf will have an even, uniform grain and velvety pile.

Although Diamalt is naturally brownish in color, it will not impair the color of the interior of the loaf in the amounts ordinarily used.

The fact can be nicely illustrated by beating or whipping a little Diamalt in a jar. The result will be a light fluffy foam which is practically white, due to the distribution of the Diamalt into fine films. A similar distribution of Diamalt takes place throughout the entire dough batch as a result of mixing into the dough. The use of milk together with Diamalt produces a loaf of beautiful interior and exterior color.


By stabilizing and stimulating the fermentation process; and by more rapidly and properly developing the dough, Diamalt brings out that true bread taste so eagerly sought for by the discriminating housewife.

The malt sugar of Diamalt properly sweetens the loaf. Diamalt, because of its composition, imparts to the loaf a mild, distinctive, delicious flavor and delightful aroma which whets the appetite and creates the desire for another slice.


Diamalt assists in securing a more efficient hydration of the gluten and a better retention of moisture in the dough, especially during the baking process. This is one reason why the Diamalt loaf will keep fresh much longer than one containing no Diamalt.

Another reason for the unusually good keeping qualities of the malt loaf is the peculiar natural ability of malt sugar to absorb and retain moisture. This characteristic is not possessed by all kinds of sugar used in baking. The general appearance, taste, aroma, texture and tenderness of bread disappear with age. In keeping the loaf fresh, Diamalt assists materially in maintaining for two or three days, the appearance, and palatability of freshly baked bread. Aside from any of its other advantages,—the ability of Diamalt to prolong freshness in bread or to delay staling, thereby improving its palatability, is sufficient alone to warrant the use of Diamalt by all bakers.


Malt extracts and other malt products are often recommended by physicians as tonic foods because of their established high nutritive quality.

The sole value of ordinary forms of sugar from a nutritional standpoint is as an energy food. However, flour, the body of Bread and other bakery products, is rich in starch and alone furnishes plenty of carbohydrate or energy giving food. Diamalt not only furnishes sugar necessary in the form of maltose which is wholesome and readily digested, but also contributes other nutrients which make bread and other bakery products a better balanced ration. The body requires a variety of protein or muscle-building food. Diamalt contains special soluble proteins, different from those of white flour, and also important vitamins and essential mineral salts such as lime and phosphates necessary for normal nutrition, thereby making the loaf a more complete food. Thus it can be easily understood why the use of Diamalt in bakery products definitely enhances their food value.



Any ingredient which definitely improves the quality and flavor of bakery products will prove a “money-saver” and a “profit-getter” by bringing repeat orders and increased sales.

As explained in detail in previous pages, Diamalt not only replaces other sugary agents by meeting the sugar requirements but at the same time distinctly enhances the other quality characteristics of the loaf. Therefore, from this standpoint alone, Diamalt has proven itself to be the most economical sugary agent for bakers’ use. To refrain from using such an ingredient means the loss of an opportunity to adopt an obvious economy.


It is a known fact that the use of Diamalt accelerates the fermentation and conditioning of the dough more than any other sugary agent. While no hard and fast rule can be laid down, the use of each 1% of Diamalt based on the weight of flour in most average bread doughs, will reduce the fermentation period by about 5%. Thus, Diamalt saves time in the bake-shop and doughs containing Diamalt should be taken on the “young” side.

Below stated are the main reasons why the use of Diamalt hastens the fermentation process.

(1) Diamalt contains about 65% of maltose which is readily fermentable—a natural sugar for yeast raised doughs.

(2) Diamalt contains about 6% of soluble proteins which are necessary to promote vigorous and healthy action of yeast in the dough.

(3) Diamalt contains approximately 1 1/2% “ash” or mineral salts which are largely phosphates, essential nutrition for the yeast.


In most cases, it has been found that the use of Diamalt slightly increases the amount of moisture which can be retained by the dough. While a Diamalt dough which has been properly hydrated will be soft and more extensible, it will be found to be easily handled and not sticky. Due to the fact that the water content of such a dough is uniformly distributed and tightly contained in the dough gluten combination, it is more efficiently retained during baking, or in other words “bakes out” less. This of course, is reflected in an increased yield of better bread.

Furthermore, as explained above, Diamalt shortens the fermentation period and accordingly aids in the reduction of the usual fermentation losses.



Diamalt is not a substitute for sugar. It is the best sugary agent for bakery products but,—more than this,—it is an ideal dough batch ingredient for reasons previously explained,—definitely improving practically all types of bread as well as yeast raised sweet goods and cookies.

In ordinary white bread doughs, 2 1/2 pounds of Diamalt to every 100 pounds of flour may be used,—replacing an equal amount of sugar with distinctly advantageous results.

Any additional sugar requirements of the dough can be made up by other sugary agents as such or by the sugar content of sweetened condensed milk if used.

The quality of sweet dough products such as those made by the Basic Sweet Dough formula are greatly improved when one-fifth of the required sugar is in the form of Diamalt. In other words, Diamalt may be used in such doughs up to 3 %, based on the amount of flour employed, replacing of course, an equal amount of sugar.

In cases where a diastatic malt extract is still employed it is of course, necessary to use it in smaller amounts than non-diastatic malt extracts, due to the action of the diastase and protease on the dough. Thus, the normal advantages of the use of malt are correspondingly reduced. The amount of diastatic malt which can be safely used depends on its diastatic strength and liquefying action.


In bread making, malt extract should be carefully measured or weighed out and dissolved separately in part of the liquid used for dough-ing and then added to the dough batch with the remaining water.


Years ago, the false notion was conceived that the fermentation of a dough would be accelerated and benefited if the yeast and malt were dissolved together in water and allowed to stand for a period of time before mixing into the dough batch. Such a procedure is often spoken of as setting one type of a “primary ferment.” This has been definitely proven to be a false economy in actual practice and generally has been given up as a dismal failure.

Some of the main reasons why the use of a primary ferment failed to accomplish what was expected of it are as follows:

1. It Produces an Irregular Fermentation and Uncertain Results

Experience has taught that the best quality of bread is produced when the fermentation of the dough batch starts slowly and gradually increases in vigor,—with the greatest activity exhibited in the proof box and during the first few minutes in the oven.

With this idea in mind, compressed yeast supplied to the baker at the present time represents yeast cells which have been grown exactly to the proper maturity so as to produce a progressively vigorous fermentation of the dough.

By allowing a preliminary solution of yeast and malt in water to stand some reproduction of yeast cells starts to take place. While some fully matured cells may be produced, depending on the concentration and temperature of the solution and time which it has stood,—it is only reasonable that by the time the “ferment” solution is mixed into the dough batch, —the original mature yeast cells have expended considerable of their enzymatic and rising power and have produced “buds.”

Now both immature yeast cells or “buds” as well as old cells lack strength and in order to secure the best results, yeast should be used in the bakery as delivered.

While the employment of a “primary ferment” such as described above may increase the rate of fermentation at the start, there is no assurance that this initial acceleration will continue at the same speed throughout the entire fermentation period, especially during the proof and first few moments in the oven.

Furthermore, it is practically impossible for the baker to make a primary ferment of the same strength every day. Such a condition renders the subsequent fermentation of the dough uncontrollable,—necessitates undesirable variations in the normal daily shop schedule of operation and makes impossible the production of a uniform product. Because of this situation, the use of a primary ferment is decidedly objectionable and in most instances has been given up in disgust by those who have tried it.

2. It Wastes Sugar

In allowing a solution of malt and yeast to stand, some fermentation takes place, the yeast acts upon some of the malt sugar present and results in the production of some carbon dioxide gas. Inasmuch as this gas is produced outside of the dough batch, it is not utilized for raising the dough and is therefore wasted as well as the malt sugar from which it was produced.


Diamalt and milk represent an ideal combination when used in the dough batch producing a malt-milk loaf of exceptionally good flavor and food value. One slice of such a loaf invites another and in this way bread consumption is definitely increased.


The use of Diamalt in cookies and snaps gives the finished product a more appetizing flavor, and a richness of aroma and color that is distinctive. Such cookies will be recognized as far above the average in quality.

Diamalt will make a firm cookie—which will stay fresh longer and less liable to breakage. Diamalt also improves the food value of the cookies, makes them better than candy for children and grown-ups.

Some Diamalt Cookie formulas are given in Part two.


Diamalt should be kept in a cool place, free from contamination. The very small lactic acid content of Diamalt definitely aids in preserving it in perfect condition.

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Content: © Janet Bostwick, Barry Harmon, Anthony Kohn, Dick Margulis, 2004-7
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"A Treatise on Baking is © ACH Foods Inc, and is reproduce on the alt.bread.recipes FAQ website with permission.
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