The Fresh Loaf

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San Joaquin Sourdough: another variation produces the best flavor yet.

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

San Joaquin Sourdough: another variation produces the best flavor yet.

 


My San Francisco Sourdough starter from sourdo.com is now two weeks old. I made another pair of my San Joaquin Sourdough breads with it yesterday. I modified my formula somewhat. I used a 60% hydration starter fed with AP flour only. I increased the amount of starter by 50%. I used KAF AP flour for the dough. I used no added instant yeast.



 


Ingredients

Weight

Baker's Percentage

Firm starter

150 gms

30.00%

KAF AP flour

450 gms

90.00%

BRM Dark Rye flour

50 gms

10.00%

Water

360 gms

72.00%

Salt

10 gms

2.00%

 

Procedure

  1. Mix the firm starter (1:3:5 – Starter:Water:Flour). Let it ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.

  2. Pour the water into a large mixing bowl. Add the starter and dissolve it in the water.

  3. Add the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let it sit for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix thoroughly using the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

  5. Repeat the “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 30 strokes 2 more times at 30 minute intervals.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board, and do one stretch and fold.

  7. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Note the volume of the dough. Cover the bowl tightly. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

  8. Repeat the stretch and fold on the board. Reform the dough into a ball and replace it in the bowl.

  9. Allow the dough to continue fermenting until the volume has increased 50%.

  10. Cold retard the dough for about 20 hours. (The dough had more than doubled and was full of large and small bubbles.)

  11. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and immediately transfer it to a lightly floured board.

  12. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape them into logs or rounds, depending on whether you want to make boules or bâtards. Cover the pieces with plasti-crap and let them rest for 60 minutes. (Give them a shorter rest if the kitchen is very warm. You don't want them to expand very much, if any.)

  13. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

  14. Shape the pieces and place them in bannetons or on a couche. Cover the loaves and proof them until they have expanded by 50-70%. (30-45 minutes)

  15. Pre-steam the oven. Then transfer the loaves to a peel (or equivalent). Score them, and load them onto your baking stone.

  16. Turn the oven down to 460ºF.

  17. After 12 minutes, remove your steaming apparatus. Turn the loaves 180º, if necessary for even browning.

  18. Continue to bake the loaves for another 15-18 minutes or until their internal temperature is 205ºF.

  19. Turn off the oven, but leave the loaves on the stone with the oven door ajar for another 7-10 minutes to dry the crust.

  20. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  21. Cool the loaves completely before slicing.

 

The loaves were already singing when I took them out of the oven. The crust developed crackles, which can be credited to the use of AP rather than higher gluten flour and the drying in the oven (Step 19., above).

 

The crumb was nice and open.

 

The crust was crisp when first cooled and crunchy/chewy the next morning. The flavor was sweet and wheaty, like a good baguette, with the barest hint of sourness. This was po

ssibly the best tasting San Joaquin Sourdough I've made. I think I'm going to stick with this version. Next time, I may use this dough to make baguettes.


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting


 


 

Comments

blackhorse16a's picture
blackhorse16a

in case there is residual water in there? Mine always looks totally dry.


 


BH

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, BH.


My skillet is usually dry when I remove it. I suppose I do so for two reasons: First, I don't know it's dry until I remove it. Second, the process of removing it, in effect, "vents" the oven to let out the humid air so the rest of the bake is in a drier oven.


David

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

As usual, your bread is super and your write up perfect. I didn't know that AP flour helps with the crackling crust and I love the crackling crust! I copied your post and plan to make this soon. Thanks for working out all the details to make it easier for me and I'm sure others too.


 


weavershouse

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I hypothesized that the lower protein flour promoted the crackly crust after watching some of Shiao-Ping's bakes. I think I also read somewhere that higher protein flour results in more crunchy, chewy crust and lower protein promotes crisper crust.


If you do try the new formula, let us see your results.


David

DonD's picture
DonD

Looks like you have perfected your formula and technique. The shaping, scoring, crust and crumb are all first rate.


Don

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

"Perfection" is an ever receding goal. I think I will continue to fiddle with the formula.


David

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

David,


That´s a darn good loaf of bread you have there!  I wish I could reach out and grab it, so I could taste it!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

chouette22's picture
chouette22

And as weavershouse has already said, we bakers out there benefit tremendously from all of your experimentations and variations. This is so much appreciated!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

All your hard work is very much appreciated.  I even learned how to pronounce 'Jan Joaquin' : )


Sylvia

Susan's picture
Susan

Congrats, a beautiful loaf!  Thanks for posting it.


Susan from San Diego


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Perfect as usual David. But the burning question is the flavor. Do you think these are any better or different than those made with your other starter?


Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The flavor was outstanding. I changed enough variables so I can't say which contributed the most to the flavor. I suspect the increased amount of starter and the omission of the yeast played the largest role. 


The sourness was really mild with no distinctive "San Francisco Sourdough" flavor, so I would be hesitant to attribute much to the starter difference.


It seems to me that, when I used Wood's SF SD starter before, it took a month to develop its distinctive characteristics. Meanwhile, it's making very good breads.


David

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

I am a huge fan of this recipe, and will be tagging right behind you


 


I'll make this variation sometime this week and report back!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I have a firm starter refreshing and plan on making another batch of SJ SD tomorrow, if I can squeeze it in before I have to leave for a concert.


I'm looking forward to hearing how the modified formula works for you. I know you have a lot of experience with the "old" version.


BTW, you have been honored by being the first to get a TFL reply sent from my new 27" iMac. 


David

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

Oh, my....


 


I feel absolutely honored!


 


I used to be a Mac-fan all the way, but for the past 15 years switched to IBM - just because of compatibility with lab equipment. But I am a Mac at heart...


 


 

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Nicely done, David!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks, Susan!


And thanks for including it in this Yeast Spotting. 


I did make this version again, and it had the same great flavor. The additional stretch and folds on the bench have resulted in a much chewier crumb, too. 


David

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Have you made any more loaves with Ed's starter? I do find these "sourdough mysteries", such as: will a starter keep or gradually loose its flavour once its environment is changed?, infinitely intriguing :)


By the way, David, did the starter come with any "maintenance instructions"? As I understand it, S.F. sourdough cultures are characterised by a certain ratio between Lactobacillus sanfransisco and the yeast candida milleri. I've read that Candida milleri is somewhat sensitive to the amount of acetic acid present and that lact. sanfransisco thrives best at ~ 30 - 32 dC. Since acetic acid becomes more dominant in stiff cultures at lower temperatures, is this fact reflected in the way Ed Wood's starter is propagated? One would think a liquid starter kept in a warm kitchen (or, as it were, bakery) would be the ideal growth environment for a typical S.F. style sourdough. Are there any instructions with regard to dilution/inoculation each feeding? Since lact. sanfransisco doesn't thrive in lower pH cultures, does Wood suggest using a very small inoculation to keep the pH higher for longer between feedings?


Considering the fact that an established starter has an extremely high amount of organisms, I'm beginning to think that a starter's "characteristics" can be maintained in a different location with different flours, as long as a certain feeding schedule is kept up. As long as the schedule is especially customised towards the particular strain of yeast and lactobacilli one wants to keep, I don't see why a S.F. sourdough can't keep its particular flavour even outside the S.F. city limits.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, hansjoakim.


Ed Wood gives very explicit instructions for activating, feeding and maintaining the SF SD starter. 


Without going into all the details, he is very cavalier regarding refrigerator storage with long intervals between feedings, once the starter is fully activated. However, most of his recipes call for two feedings at about 100% hydration (he gives volume measurements for flour and water) before mixing the final dough. He is also pretty specific about starter inoculation amounts and fermentation temperature. 


I have made a couple more batches of bread since this one. One was a replication of the above formula with the same (good) results. The other was Maggie Glezer's sourdough challah, which had an outstanding flavor. (The appearance was another matter. I braided the loaves too tightly, I think, and they were indistinct in the baked loaves.)


I have not yet made a loaf really shooting for the authentic SF SD flavor, following Wood's instructions. Maybe next weekend. I've had a very busy couple of weeks and haven't had time to do every 12 hour feedings, keeping some starter at room temperature the whole time. I think that may help develop the desired flavor, too.


One insight I've just recently gained from thinking about Wood's instructions: He stresses temperatures to optimize multiplication of lactobacilli (warm) whereas I've been thinking more about the temperature at which more acetic acid forms (cool). I'm thinking that I need to do several (at least two) feedings of a liquid levain at room temperature before mixing a firmer levain to retard or just retarding the dough or loaves. More experimentation is definitely needed.


I have the feeling I'm reinventing the wheel, but, in the end, it will be my wheel!


This seems entirely consistent with your understanding, BTW.


David

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi David,


Thanks for your interesting reply!


I absolutely agree with you. I'm getting more and more convinced that the authentic SF SD (which I've never had the privilege of tasting...yet) is a result of getting the right lactobacilli and yeast in the sourdough, and not of deliberately starving the sourdough the get "sourness". Reading the SD FAQ, there's been research showing that using more than 50% inoculation gives you a very acidic sourdough, where there is no trace of lact. sanfransisco. Since lact. sanfransisco is essential in SF SD, that observation rules out deliberate malnourishment (it sounds terrible, doesn't it?) of the culture to get sour taste.


In the same FAQ, it's stated that it usually takes at least two weeks of repeated feedings (at room temp.) to get a good "SF SD" culture. I think this also agrees with what you've written earlier: That the true SF taste takes a while to obtain, and that the tangy flavour was something you obtained a few weeks after you started the culture. A couple of feedings at room temp. before using the sourdough to bake breads would probably help get lact. sanfransisco a good foothold as well.


I'd be very interested in learning more about your ongoing experiment, so keep us updated David!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Another thought: To my knowledge, the most extensive scientific exploration of sourdough is the work developing the "Detmolder method" for rye. I don't see why the "3-stage Detmolder" method wouldn't have similar results for any sourdough culture.


I need to put Hamelman's write-up on the Detmolder method next to Wood's method for developing SF SD flavor. They have many similarities. If I had time (three days), I would apply a strict Detmolder method to my white SD culture. I bet the results would be fantastic!


David

willsfca's picture
willsfca

Sorry David but I just realized that I should've posted my question in the forum section, not on your personal blog! My apologies. (I was researching a solution for my flat baguette problem and i get a lot of hits on your blog entries...) Thank you so much for all the awesome postings. This San Joaquin loaf is definitely something i strive for.


will


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, will.


There are a number of factors that might be contributing to your problem, but the most striking thing to me is your starter. You may be starving it. If it is really 169% hydration, the yeast is going to run through its food supply pretty fast. It may not be very active by time you incorporate it into the dough, so it may not be fermenting the new flour well.


What's your actual mix (starter:water:flour) in the starter, and how often are you feeding it?


David

willsfca's picture
willsfca

The starter is one i've been using for few months now, that i started myself. I've been using 1:1 water to flour ratio by volume, and I recently figured out that it's about 169% hydration. I usually keep it in the fridge and scoop out the amount i need for the dough and after a while replenish the starter. Maybe i'm doing it all wrong? The starter always smells good and is bubbly an hour or so after feeding it if left at room temp., or a day or so later if left in the fridge. I feed it about once a week if it's been in the fridge, or after I use a good portion of it. (Not too scientific I know, but it's been alive and works for Leader/Basil's pain au levain recipe really well.)


But in addition to the starter, I also added instant yeast, at about the same ratio as for the Bouabsa baguette recipe. Do you think the holes on the bottom mean anything?


So maybe what i should do is to mix a poolish from the very wet starter, and then use that in the final dough? I plan to maintain a drier starter after I get a more accurate scale.


by the way, i moved the original question post to here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/14409/flat-baguettes-holes-bottom

willsfca's picture
willsfca

Hi David, i went back and read your instructions for the San Joaquin loaf more carefully, and realized that you had mentioned that you gave the dough about an hour of bulk fermentation after the kneading (folds) but before the dough went into the fridge. I totally skipped that part. this could explain why i usually don't get much rise at all in the fridge.


and also there is no more folds/kneading after the cold rise. i think a combination of me kneading the dough after the cold rise and using too much wet starter must've been the cause for my flat loaves. but i also wonder if i should've developed the gluten more. i would say the final dough seems stretchy enough and is pretty chewy after baking. but maybe more gluten would stop some of the holes in the bottom?


anyways, thanks again for all the inspiring loaves and info! i have much more to experiment with.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Will.


I've sometimes fermented the dough some before retarding and sometimes afterwards, before dividing it. I have gotten best results when, one way or the other, the dough has doubled before dividing.


Another option is to leave the dough to expand during the "rest" between dividing and shaping, but this doesn't yield results as good.


David

willsfca's picture
willsfca

My dough has never doubled after the cold rise! So maybe i need to give it more time?


Another variable i've been investigating is the amount of my wet starter. I didn't realize that if you put too much (hungry) starter into the final dough, it can start to dissolve the gluten. I guess this happens in a levain that's built with wet starter and flour -- after 8 hours or so the levain becomes very sticky and not very stretchy. but then that's mixed in with more flour and water.


for my last batch i pre-mixed some wet starter with some flour (2 parts starter, 1 part flour, no water). this is essentially the ration for the levain i've been using before. then i let it sit for a while before mixing it into the final dough. then i let the dough ferment at room temp for about an hour, and now the dough is in the fridge and has risen probably 25% or so over night. maybe it'll rise more this evening. i'll wait until it rises to at least 50% more to see if it makes any difference.


i think i'm changing two variables here but they're inter-related (gluten development and rise), so i'm probably going about it in more of a trial-and-error than a more scientific fashion...


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Will.


Recently, I've been playing around with more liquid starters, but my standard starter feeding for the past couple years has been 1:3:4 (starter:water:flour). This makes a thick batter consistency, and it has worked well. That's what I've used for the SJ SD. My minimal starter feeding is to 1:2:2 for a more liquid starter, unless the formula calls for a 125% hydration starter.


I still think you are not feeding your starter enough to achieve optimal activity to raise dough.


David

willsfca's picture
willsfca

Hi David, my starter is definitely a "batter type" of starter. I looked at a bunch of recipes that describe using 1 to 1 flour to water ratio, but I've been using volume instead of weight. Maybe that's where the problem is... i had figured out that my 1/4 scoop of flour is about 35g, and 1/4 cup of water is about 59g, so my starter must be around 169% hydration.


but i thought if i use this starter to build a levain the night before, i'm essentially feeding the starter (or innoculate more flour)? the sourdough recipe i usually use with this starter calls for mixing 12 oz of starter to 6 oz of flour (by weight) the night before baking. after that then mix in the water and flour for the final dough. this has always worked pretty well for me, but i'm sure it can be even better. for one thing your San Joaquin loaf has a way more open crumb than the sourdough I've been making.


sometimes it feels like the more i bake the less i know. :-) now i want to read up more on the science of sourdough...

M2's picture
M2

Hi David,


I made the San Joaquin a few days ago and it was delicious!  Both the texture of the crumb and the flavour are amazing.  I'm in the process of making this bread again because I wasn't quite happy with my work the first time (starter not in its best status). 


Can you please explain why you suggest shaping only after retarding in the fridge?  I learned that the dough is usually shaped first and then put in the fridge.  What are the benefits of this "reversed" procedure?


Thanks!


Michelle


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Michelle.


I'm so glad you are enjoying your San Joaquin Sourdough!


To answer your question: You have to know the history behind this bread. In summary, during the 1970's and 1980's, a group of younger French boulangers rebelled against the industrial baguettes that had been replacing the traditional baguettes in France since WW II. Presumably influenced by the teaching of Prof. Raymond Calvel, who emphasized the importance of a long slow fermentation to develop the flavor of bread, they introduced a cold retardation stage during bulk fermentation (before the dough is divided and shaped).


In 2008, a young Parisian boulanger named Anis Bouabsa won the annual award for the best baguette in Paris using this procedure. Janedo, a French home baker (born and raised in Vancouver, BC, for your interest) and member of TFL visited Bouabsa's boulangerie and learned about his method, which she then shared with us here.


Over the ensuing months, a number of us made baguettes using Bouabsa's formula. Jane and I began fiddling with it - adding some rye flour and some levain, and, eventually, leaving out the commercial yeast altogether. Then I started using this dough to make bâtards and, occasionally, boules. Thus, the San Joaquin Sourdough was born.


So, cold retardation can be implemented either during bulk fermentation or during proofing. The effects on flavor are similar but possibly not identical. The effects on dough handling are different. As you may have noticed, the dough retarded in bulk is much more extensible during shaping, for instance. This may be especially advantageous when forming baguettes. It may be less desirable when forming boules. 


In addition, the two methods have different implications for scheduling your bread production. The method I use in the San Joaquin Sourdough works well for me when I want to mix the dough one evening and bake the next morning.


If you can get a copy of Suas' "Advanced Bread and Pastry," you can read a detailed analysis of both types of retardation.


I hope this isn't TMI for you. Again, I'm delighted you are enjoying the bread.


Happy baking!


David

M2's picture
M2

Always enjoy understanding a bit more about the story behind it!  I'll ask my local library to get a copy of the "Advanced Bread and Pastry" for me.  Yes, the bread is great, thanks for sharing your knowledge!


Michelle

Boboshempy's picture
Boboshempy

David,


Please tell me if this will work to make the 150g of firm starter for your recipe...or if I am crazy:


Will 17g of my 100% hydration sourdough starter + 50g of water + 83g of flour make your 150g firm starter?


You're the best,


Nick

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Nick/


Your starter ingredients look correct to make a starter of the consistancy I use out of a 100% hydration starter.


I don't have sufficient data to determine whether you are crazy about anything else, but you are not crazy regarding your starter.


Happy baking!


David

willsfca's picture
willsfca

I'm a big fan of the San Joaquin as well! for my last batch I made a firm starter by using 80g of 100% hyd. starter with 20g of flour, to end up with 100g of 67% hydration starter that goes into a dough with 500g of total flour (not counting what's in the starter). i liked the batch so much that I took some photos (see below).


The loaves looked pretty good but I also did add 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast. Does any one know how mixing a high ratio of 100% starter with just flour and no additional water would differ from mixing smaller amount of starter with some water and flour?


Obviously one method uses more starter, but I wonder how different the flavors would be. I guess I can always try it out. I'm curious because many of the sourdough recipes I've seen involves mixing starter, water and flour instead of just starter and flour to achieve a firm(er) starter for the final dough.


latest San Joaquin baguettes


dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Generally, a starter feeding should at least double the "seed starter." This is to give the starter enough food to get it really active. Since you added yeast, you obviously didn't have a problem with the bread rising, and there was probably enough flavor added.


How did the baguettes taste to you?


David

willsfca's picture
willsfca

so making the stiff starter is also a feeding, and the goal is to get it to the right hydration with about twice the flour as in the seed starter? that makes sense. in the pain au levain recipe i use the levain is mixed with just starter and flour, but the added flour comes out to be just 1/2 the weight of the 100% starter... (light bulb flashing next to my head!)


i'll definitely try that on the next loaf, and skip the commercial yeast. the pain au levain i make definite do not need any additional yeast and rises just fine from my starter.


the baguettes taste great! nice cruchy crust (when still hot or reheated), with very tender and chewy crumb. only slightly sour but really more sweet to me. also i get a very wheaty flavor from the flour i use (giusto's organic AP flour from a bulk food store here). the AP flour is labeled as having 11.5% protein, which seems pretty high to me. I use it when recipes call for bread flour and it all comes out fine. maybe i'll try using it for bagels next time.


will


 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Hi David


I baked your San Joaquin SD a week ago. Fantastic result. And as you say, lovely flavours. Thanks for the recipe and write-up - this is yet another keeper from you, and one of my favourites.


Cheers!
Ross



 


dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

SLKIRK's picture
SLKIRK

IT APPEARS TO ME THAT AMOUNT OF SALT IN THIS RECIPE SHOULD BE 10 GRAMS AND NOT 10 MILLIGRAMS --- SOUNDS GOOD AND I WILL TRY IT SOON ---


TONY

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

But you don't have to yell. (Using all caps).


I've corrected the typo. Must have written too many prescriptions that day.


David

Boboshempy's picture
Boboshempy

David,


I know I am going to stand out in the crowd when I say this but I wasn't crazy about how my bread came out. As always, I followed your fantastic recipe to a T. I was happy with the crumb, my oven spring was shocking, and the bread looked and smelled great, but there was this little thing with the taste...my bread virtually had none. Pretty weird huh? I tell you the truth, the bread was pretty void of any flavor. It was quite odd. And also, it was just a tad bit gummy, not gummy, but just a tad bit. With this recipe and technique I am shocked that this was the case. Maybe it's the rye? Maybe I just don't like rye? Actually that isn't true though, I love rye. I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour just like you did. Maybe I need to try a different Rye? Maybe I should substitute in WW instead? I don't know. Maybe I under baked it? Maybe I am crazy?


So, where do you think I went wrong? I posted some pictures so you can see what it looked like.


Thanks again,


Nick


PS You are the best!


rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Hi Boboshempy,

Well, your bread certainly looks superb!

It's true, as David says, that ideal salt content is down to individual taste, but I reduced the salt to 6gm when I baked this lovely bread, and the flavour was up there with the best I've baked. It's always worth trying adjustments such as David's suggestion to increase the salt, but in view of my result, I suspect the lack of flavour to be due to other factors. No idea what, though, especially if you've been baking other breads with the same flour and have not had an issue with flavour until now.

And like David, I had no 'gumminess' of the crumb with this one. Good odds that's related to baking time, I reckon.

Interested in the outcome if you do make adjustments and try this bread again. It's one of my favourites.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Re. flavor: This bread is a bit low on salt compared to many formulas. Your taste might require boosting it a tad.


Re. Gummy crumb: I never get that. Maybe you did under-bake.


Thanks for your kind words.


David

Boboshempy's picture
Boboshempy

Thanks David & rossnroller,


I think 10 minutes more in the oven would have made a world of difference. I may also tweak the salt a little next time. I forgot to mention that I used KA Sir Lancelot flour and not KAAP. For some reason I have been liking the AP better and finding that it actually performs better across the board in recipes.


All and all this is a great bread. I had some more tonight with a Hungarian Goulash my girlfriend made and the combo was killer.


Thanks again,


Nick


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Ahhhh ... Sir Lancelot is going to change things a lot. The dough will act like it has lower hydration. The crust will be thicker. The crumb will be chewier.


High gluten flour is great for bagels and breads with a predominance of low gluten flours, like ryes. It can help breads with lots of stuff that cuts gluten fibers like bran and seeds. But it is generally not recommended for the SJ SD.


David

blackhorse16a's picture
blackhorse16a

David,


Could I use pumpernickel instead of dark rye?


 


Joe

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Joe.


I've never tried it. It is more coarsely ground and might result in a denser crumb. Try it and let us know.


David

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