Cinnamon bread in a hurry: a loaf born of panic

A blog reader, Sue, posted this comment yesterday. And it sent me running for the kitchen: literally.

“Now a question for you, something I’ve tried to have answered a couple of times before – the recipe for Easy Cinnamon Bread posted on the KA Flour website calls for an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2” pan which I found is too small; a 9 x 5” pan is perfect. I keep checking back to see if the pan size has been changed……..not so far!! Love the Bakers’ Banter and, of course, the great recipes. THANKS!”

I felt a moment of panic. Oh, no… If there’s one thing we pride ourselves on here at King Arthur Flour, it’s that our recipes WORK. Yeah, they taste good, they’re often imaginative, sometimes (though not often, for me) they’re even gorgeous, something you’d be proud to make the centerpiece of an elegant dessert buffet. But most of all—they work. They turn out the way they’re supposed to. THE RECIPE IS ACCURATE. Thus my sinking heart at Sue’s comment.

I found the Easy Cinnamon Bread recipe online. Yup, it calls for an 8 ½” x 4 ½” pan. I see it would take probably just under 2 hours start to finish. I glance at my watch: 3:30 p.m. If I start RIGHT NOW… thus my sprint to the kitchen. (Usually it takes me 21 seconds to get to the test kitchen from my desk, barring any hallway chitchat. This time, it must have taken under 10 seconds…)

I quickly gather the simple ingredients and make the batter.

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This bread is interesting, in that it includes both yeast and baking powder. It needs to rest for an hour before baking; so an hour goes by, and now it’s like 4:45. It’s time to stir in the baking powder and cinnamon chips. OH NO! Baking powder, yes. Cinnamon chips, no—the cupboard is bare. “Oh darn,” I say (or words to that effect), and tear down the stairs to our warehouse, which is on the ground floor below the test kitchen.

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The warehouse folks have almost all gone home; the usual bustling aisles are silent. Back upstairs I run, to find someone who can tell me WHERE TO FIND CINNAMON CHIPS IN THE WAREHOUSE. A bit of computer noodling from Andrea (my fellow test baker and computer-savvy savior) tells me the chips are in “J1D3.” Back down:

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HA! There they are, the little rascals! I grab a bag and sprint back up the stairs.

Into the risen batter go the baking powder and chips.

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I select a bread pan from the shelf and, just in case, measure it. Yup; 8 ½” x 4 ½”.

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Unless you see them side by side, you can sometimes mistake an 8 ½” x 4 ½” for a 9” x 5”. But this one was the right size. Now, the question: Is it the right size for the cinnamon bread recipe?

I fill the pan, sprinkle the batter with cinnamon sugar—looking good, not too full.

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Finally, put it in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. Now it’s past 5 p.m., and everyone’s pretty much cleared out; the kitchen is quiet. Holding my breath, I peer into the oven and see:

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Success! The bread has risen beautifully, and hasn’t overflowed. BUT: had I used a pan even 1/2” smaller, I might have been in trouble.

Problem is, oftentimes pans labeled 8 ½” x 4 ½” are actually calling out exterior measurements; a TRUE measurement is taken from the pan’s interior dimensions. So, when a manufacturer calls it a 9” cake pan, it might actually be 8 ½”; or a 9” x 13” pan might really measure 8 ½” x 13”. Good thing to remember, when you’re buying pans: measure the inside.

Another good thing to remember: here at the Baker’s Catalogue, we very carefully measure pans. What we say is what you’ll get.

So Sue, I’m not sure why your 8 ½” x 4 ½” pan doesn’t work for this recipe. But I’d take a ruler to it, and make sure it’s really what it says: 8 ½” x 4 ½” x 2 1/2” high. And, thanks for reminding me about this great Cinnamon Bread recipe… It’s easy, it’s truly delicious, AND I can throw it together late on a Monday afternoon and enjoy it Tuesday morning for breakfast—which I just did!

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Find the complete recipe online: Easy Cinnamon Bread.

Note: Further testing of this recipe revealed that it’s OK to add the cinnamon chips and baking powder right at the beginning, along with everything else; THEN give the batter its rest prior to baking. Either way is fine.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Lori

    I love the idea of this, but am trying to use more whole grains. Could you substitute some whole wheat or whole wheat cake flour for part of the AP flour, and if so, what proportion do you recommend?

    Reply
  2. Sue E. Conrad

    Dear P.J.

    Wow, I sure opened Pandora’s box……and what a response I received!!! I quickly retrieved two of my loaf pans from the cupboard and lo and behold, the one I’d first tried – marked 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-5/8 on the bottom – proved to be less than that inside, undoubtedly the reason the batter remained raw in the middle despite baking longer than should have been necessary. The other pan proved to be much closer to what the recipe calls for which is why it’s worked successfully. Can’t thank you enough for a more-than-adequate answer!!! Just one more of many reasons why the folks at King Arthur are THE BEST!!

    Reply
  3. Bridget

    I like your description of running around baking the bread! If only I had a warehouse stocked with cinnamon chips! :)

    I’ve made this bread before and it is to die for! I try NOT to make it because I could easily devour the entire loaf in one day!!!

    Reply
  4. ColleenM

    This is by far the best log out there! I love your tried and true recipes, actually feeling like I get to know the authors, oh, and that King Arthur products rock! Thanks for all your time that goes into this blog! Maybe I should start a fan club. LOL

    Reply
  5. PJ Hamel

    Lori, I’d substitute some of our white whole wheat flour – you could try up to half. I wouldn’t substitute whole wheat cake flour (I’ve never heard of whole wheat cake flour, so wouldn’t know how to use it…). Nor whole wheat pastry flour; the protein is too low. Try white whole wheat, half and half; or traditional (red) whole wheat, substituting 1/3. I haven’t tried it, but that’s my best guess…

    Reply
  6. Katie

    I just got my email saying my cinn.chips had just shipped and I wanted to see if there were any good recipes using them. I was so excited not only to see this recipe layed out for me step by step, but I got to see the warehouse and the stock of fellow cinn.chip bags that my bag must have just been pulled out of that day. Nerdy I know but fun too! I can’t wait to try it when my box arrives.

    Reply
  7. PJ Hamel , post author

    Katie: Welcome to BNU (pronounced like gnu, but with a “b”): Baking Nerds United!! Is your idea of an all-nighter waiting to see if your starter rises? You’re one of us. Is your idea of the icing on the cake REALLY icing on cake? You’re one of us. (I have a whole mess of these at work, just can’t remember them at the moment…)

    Reply
  8. Jules

    I have cinnamon flav-r-bites. Can I substitute them for the chips? I think because the of the resting time, they would be fine, but it doesn’t hurt to check!

    Reply
  9. Michelle

    I can’t wait for Passover to be over and I can make this recipe! It looks so good and seems really easy (and fast)! I really love the pictures of the warehouse…like our very own behind the scenes tour!

    Reply
  10. Julie Cole

    For Katie – the VERY best use of cinnamon chips that I know of is in the KAF Cookie Companion, page 298, “Mocha Mudslides”. The recipe calls for 1 cup of chocolate OR cinnamon chips. At our house, we use 1/2 cup of each plus the cappucino chips (available at our local World Market store if not elsewhere). If your family is like mine, you’ll rarely get to taste these cookies a day old, they are just too good fresh out of the oven.

    Reply
  11. Susan

    It’s almost dinnertime, but I just must make a loaf of this bread right now. It looks absolutely delicious.

    Reply
  12. ellen

    I haven’t tried the mocha mudslides, but I think the best cinnamon chip use is cinnamon-pecan scones from the KAF whole grain baking. (Its one of the possible substitutions in the oat raisin scones recipe,) I always get rave reviews. BTW, I almost always make mini- scones- cutting each scone into four triangles. This makes them more cookie sized and people don’t look at one say its too big, break into pieces (and then eat all the pieces)It also makes it easier to make scones for a large group.

    When I made the cinnamon bread I didn’t have enough cinn chips so I substituted some Heath toffee chips. I though the end result was very tasty.

    Reply
  13. Hope

    Last night I made the Cinnamon Apple Bars in the KA Whole Grain baking book – delicious place to use cinnamon chips! They are moist, good apple flavor and were enthusiastically received by dinner guests and now my 17 year old daughter is eating them for breakfast! I did make a couple changes – omitted the peanut butter glaze ( thought it wouldn’t be necessary and might be too sticky for my taste), used half butter and half oil and did not bother to food process the oats but instead used quick oats. I also added some pecans, my daughter (not a big nut fan suggests next time use dried cranberries). We didn’t miss the glaze at all, in fact I will probably use a little less sugar next time. By the way, I’m a dietitian and really enjoy this cookbook and this blog. I do find lots of the recipes can be “tweaked” to be less saturated fat so better for controlling one’s cholesterol. Thanks!

    Reply
  14. Loretta Boteler

    I’m looking forward to making this easy cinnamon bread and this brings a question to mind relating to cinnamon rolls.. Since cinnamon and yeast “do not play well together”, does the same hold true for cardamom? I like to use about 1/2 tsp cardamom in my cinnamon roll dough for a little more depth in taste and haven’t had any problems that I know of. Does the amount used play into the results, either with cinnamon or cardamom? This blog reading can become addictive!!!

    Reply
  15. Charlotte C

    We made this Cinnamon Bread this weekend, and I baked it about 7 minutes longer than the recommended time. It was perfect, until we got to the middle slices today, which were a little “damp” in the center.

    Has anyone tried to divide this batter/dough in cupcake pans? If so, how many would it fill, and how long would it bake? Just a thought. I’m also considering using the tiny pans that I used to make pumpkin breads in at Thanksgiving. I think I used three of them for a “normal” loaf of the pumpkin bread. Just wondering.

    I’d appreciate your thoughts about this. Thanks!

    Reply
  16. PJ

    Loretta, cardamom shouldn’t be a problem at all.

    Charlotte, it would probably work well in cupcake pans – it would probably fill about 10, and would probably bake about 25-30 minutes at 350°F (my educated guess).

    Reply
  17. jami

    I just baked this this morning, and I don’t keep cinnamon chips on hand, so I popped in some mini-chocolate chips. I think I would like cinnamon better, but the chocolate chips were a great substitution.

    Quick and easy! Yum!

    Reply
  18. Joyce

    I hope I am not posting this twice, I seemed to have a computer glich when I tried to post it the first time.

    I made this bread yesterday and we had it for breakfast today. It tasted good and had a great cinnamon flavor, but was a bit dry. I used one cup of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of King Arthur AP as suggested in an early comment. When I mixed the dough before rising I had to use my dough hook on my stand mixer to finish mixing. After rising I again used the dough hook to mix in the baking powder and cinammon chips. No way could I have spooned the dough into the pan as the recipe says to do. Could the whole wheat flour be why my batter was so dry? Overall, I would say any of my bread doughs tend to be drier than what the recipe indicates it will be. Why would this be?

    Reply
  19. PJ

    Joyce, yes, whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid than all-purpose, so the batter would be a bit drier. Or if you live in a very dry climate, the flour will naturally absorb more liquid. However, you also might be packing too much flour into your measuring cup, which is the more likely culprit. A cup of all-purpose flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces; by scooping (rather than sprinkling) flour into your cup, you can get as much as 5 1/2 ounces into a cup, which would translate to an additional 3/4+ cup flour in this recipe – that’s a lot! The more flour, the drier the batter, the drier the bread. Next time, if you’re not already doing this, try fluffing up the flour in the canister with a spoon; then sprinkling it (with a scoop or spoon) into the measuring cup till it’s overflowing; then leveling it off with the back of a table knife. This should give you 4 1/4 ounces flour. Hope this solves your challenge!

    Reply
  20. dotti bee

    I am really enjoying this blog…been scratch baking for over 40 years…but I missed something along the way….the comment about yeast and cinnamon “not playing well together” …please…an explanation…thanks..db

    Reply
  21. PJ Hamel , post author

    Dorri, I don’t know the chemical explanation, but cinnamon and garlic both slow down yeast’s growth, which slows down your bread’s rise. I’ve found that under 1 teaspoon cinnamon per 3 cups of flour doesn’t have TOO much effect, but more and the rise slows way down.

    Reply
  22. Olga Smith

    Hi, So enjoy your website and really like the illustrated blog area. I’ve just discovered that. I have made a simple Cuban bread for years. I need to make them into rolls for a special Youth dinner. I could use some directin on how I might do this. I need it for tomorrow (and will go and try it on my own). I my unskilled version turns out well, I will send my info on to you. The bread goes into a cold oven, bread round slashed with an X. It opens like a lovely, crusty flower. Thanks. Olga

    Reply
  23. Amy

    Ooooh….I sure hope you had your warehouse manager do the proper transaction to relieve the inventory on the cinnamon chips!! When they count the bags, no one will be able to figure out why there’s a shortage!! My dream job would be to work in a baking supply warehouse that had enthusiastic test bakers in the kitchen upstairs!!!
    Just discovered this blog and I’m hooked. Thanks.

    Reply
  24. PJ Hamel

    Olga, it’s easy to make rolls from bread, just divide the dough into how many rolls you want, shape into ovals or rounds, space on baking sheet, rise, and bake – a somewhat shorter amount of time than a loaf. Hope they turned out great!

    Reply
  25. PJ Hamel , post author

    Amy, don’t worry – I always tell Robin, our inventory maven, when I go “snitch” something from the shelves. You’re right, it has to come out of inventory officially – and our warehouse crew is known for how accurate their cycle counts are, so I wouldn’t think of goofing them up!

    Reply
  26. Candace R.

    PJ, I made this today, two loaves, measured the pan inside and it still was too much for it. Took forever to bake, still don’t know if it is done inside till I cut it tomorrow AM when it’s totally cold. Also, didn’t rise up as high as yours, just drooped over the pan. I cut the overhang off to get it out of the pan and the scraps tasted great! I made one loaf with AP flour and one with pastry flour. The pastry one looks best.

    Reply
  27. Nicole Shugars

    I saw this on the blog today and promptly went to the cupboard and had EXACTLY one cup left of my KAF cinnamon chips — is this destiny or what? Seriously…that is some amazing bread. My husband, who almost never finishes one serving of any dessert, went back for a second slice. It was easy and came out great — but one question. Why the hour wait time? I didn’t notice a significant rise in the dough which I expected because of the yeast? Any more amazing recipes you’d like to share with those cinnamon chips? I’m ready to place an order to refill my supply!

    Reply
  28. PJ Hamel , post author

    Nicole, glad you had those chips handy! They’re gooooood. Thanks for your question – because you asked, I’ve amended the blog to include the answer. the hour rest does three things: 1) it allows the flour to absorb the liquid fully; 2) it gets the yeast going, even though you can’t really see it; and 3) it relaxes the gluten. All of these things help the bread rise better. As for furtgher cinnamon chip recipes, I especially love our Kids’ Choice Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies; and Cinnamon Smear Scones, substituting cinnamon chips for the butterscotch chips. Enjoy!

    Reply
  29. PJ Hamel

    Candace, I’m flummoxed, sorry. The pastry flour shouldn’t have risen as high; should have been flatter. Is that what happened? Also,the pastry flour one would have been more likely to fall apart in the toaster (was it the pastry flour one that fell apart?Less gluten makes it harder to hold itself together.) Can’t imagine why it’s still too much for your pan.

    this is one of those instances where it’s just so hard to diagnose from afar…

    Reply
  30. Louise Persson

    Hi PJ,
    This recipe reminded me of a recipe I think was from KA using a slack dough for bread making. I believe there was a recipe to the New York Times. Does this ring a bell? I’m very interested in trying this technique.
    Louise

    Hi Louise – There’s a recipe on our Web site called Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread, based on the NY Times version. It’s really nothing like this cinnamon bread, but I think that’s what you’re looking for – enjoy! – PJ

    Reply
  31. non

    this bread looks great, but i’m confused – the recipe you link to doesn’t call for an hour wait once the dough is in the pan, but you call for it here….? (is that as much of an issue as the size of the pan….can i skip the extra wait in a pinch?)

    thanks

    Yeah, you’re right, Non: in the recipe, the batter rests for an hour before you add the chips and baking powder. In my post, I added the chips and baking powder, then spooned it into the pan and let it rest—which actually makes more sense to me, since it gets a chance to rise a bit in the pan without being knocked down. But both methods work. Skip the rest entirely? Go for it – and let us know how it works. – PJH

    Reply
  32. non

    sorry, i misunderstood. I thought you left it for two risings, and was asking if I could skip the second one. But it only has one rise, correct?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  33. non

    yeah, in the way you have the recipe written here, you let it rest twice:

    “This bread is interesting, in that it includes both yeast and baking powder. It needs to rest for an hour before baking; so an hour goes by, and now it’s like 4:45. It’s time to stir in the baking powder and cinnamon chips…..

    Into the risen batter go the baking powder and chips….

    I fill the pan, sprinkle the batter with cinnamon sugar—looking good, not too full.
    Let it rest for an hour, which gives the yeast a chance to get growing; the gluten to relax a bit, and the flour to absorb the liquid fully, all of which will help the bread rise better in the oven. Finally, put it in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.”

    Well, clearly I was in such a dither I didn’t follow my own directions! Bottom line: I’m going back to what I originally did, which worked just fine. Make the batter, let it rest for an hour, stir in the chips and baking powder, then put it into the pan, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and bake. – PJH

    sounds like you gave it two rests.

    If it only has one rest, and in the original recipe it calls for transferring the batter right before baking, that might knock down the dough and get it to rise less….fitting into a smaller pan better, no? (i write that wrt the original question)

    Using the method you describe in the comment (make batter, transfer to pan, and give it only one rise in the pan) do you sprinkle with cinammon sugar right before baking or when you put it in the pan and before you let it rest?

    Reply
  34. Randi

    I made this three times. I love the flavor but each time it came out all gooey in the middle but the top and sides were nice and brown. If I baked it longer the top would burn. I did the one hour rest before adding the chips and baking powder and the size was fine. Please advise.

    Randi, try lowering your oven temperature 25°; your oven might be running hot. And tent the bread with foil halfway through, so it doesn’t burn on top. Make sure you’re baking in the center of the oven, too, not bottom or top. Good luck! – PJH

    Reply
  35. Nancy

    Thank you for this wonderful posting!
    I had just ordered the cinnamon chips, figuring I would use them in scones, when I came across this blog for the first time.
    A couple of days ago I was the fortunate receipent of some “overflow” garden plants from a lovely neighbor. I tried to think of something I could give her in return, as a small token of my appreciation for her generosity. Not knowing her very well, I had no idea of her general likes and dislikes. Thanks to you I will be able to show her just how much her kind offering meant to me.
    It’s baking now, and it smells wonderful. I doubled the recipe (can’t give something to someone else that you haven’t tested out, right?), made two loaves in the recommended pan size, but next time I think I will use a larger pan. They look a little like breakfast for the stay-puff marshmallow man :) Maybe between the temp (73) and humidity(80) here (just outside Atlantic City, NJ), they just need more room. I’ve also had to let them bake about 15 minutes longer. I tented them and they’re fine. Now, of course fine for me isn’t as beautiful as PJ’s were, but rustic is in right? This time I used one metal and one glass pan (I’m wild that way.). Next time I’ll use my Bennington loaf pans, and I’ll report back, if anyone’s interested.
    Really, I do appreciate everyone’s involvement here. I think all of our comments can be helpful and encouraging to others…I know they are to me!

    Pan sizes vary so wildly, Nancy, sometimes it’s hard to make a recipe where “one size fits all.” I like your style – just give it a try, and so what if it doesn’t come out perfect. That’s actually my style, as well -it’s very seldom I bake something that turns out beautiful. When I do, it’s totally accidental! But thanks for the compliment, that loaf was one of my lucky ones,I guess. -PJH

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  36. Sabrina

    Could this recipe be made in the KA Tea Loaf Pan?
    I love them for banana bread, etc.

    Yes, Sabrina, I do believe it could – never tried it, but don’t see why not… just adjust the baking time down a bit.good luck1 – PJH

    Reply
  37. Carol

    I just made this bread today and LOVE it! I think the hardest part was leaving it alone until it cooled completely! That was torture!!! Mine did take a little longer to bake than the 35-40 minutes-took more like 50 minutes I think because I was baking it in convection mode in my oven so the temperature automatically drops 25 degrees.
    This is a keeper in my favorites file for sure! I love the blog and the recipes—oh my goodness! I’ll be reading for days!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  38. Lish

    I have made this a few times, with whole wheat for half of the flour and it is a huge hit at our house. My 1 year old and 2 year old love it, and so does my husband. We always adored cinnamon buns but don’t have the time to make them or the time to burn them off anymore! So this gives us the same satisfaction, but with whole grains and a lot fewer calories. This is a real winner, and I am loving all the no knead recipes that I have found on KAF’s website. Thanks for helping us busy people keep baking like we love to do!

    Reply
  39. meecee

    look yummy, never heard of cinnamon chips before. are they available in Europe?
    They are quite a treat if you are a cinnamon lover. Some other brands taste artificial, but not these. You can purchase cinnamon chips through our online catalogue. Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  40. sandylee6

    Firstly – I LOVE this blog – totally addicted – Second, this looks so good, but none of the links to the recipe work???? I really want to try this recipe and would So appreciate the recipe – PLEASE
    Sandy

    Sorry ’bout that, Sandy – thanks for letting us know, they should work now. Here’s the recipe for Easy Cinnamon Bread. PJH

    Reply
  41. penlee

    I baked this bread for the first time last week, my family loved it!! While eating the last two slices, my husband suggested adding some chopped walnuts. So, I made another loaf with finely chopped walnuts, I’m not sure which way is better, my husband likes it better with the nuts. Either way it was a hit with the rest of my bunch! Another hit from KAF for my recipe box.

    Reply
  42. Indian Home Baker

    I am now officially a KAF site and books addict! This recipe sounds just great and I want to try it. Couple of questions – If I use a hand mixer (I don’t have a stand mixer) how long do I beat this? And I don’t have a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pan either. Help!!

    Sure, a hand mixer is fine. Just beat until smooth. You can bake in a 9″ x 5″; the loaf will be flat and rather rectangular, rather than taller and domes, but it’ll still taste good! PJH

    Reply
  43. thefiverogers

    My family loves this breakfast treat and I have made it many times. However, in reading through this blog I was a little confused. When I read (and re-read) the recipe my understanding is that the cinnamon chips and baking powder go in before letting it rest for 1 hour. The blog seems to indicate that they are added after the rest. Please clarify at what point the chips and baking powder should be added.

    As it turns out – either works fine. We tried it both ways, and ended up listing it both ways. Some find it easier to add the chips and leavening before the rest, as then you don’t accidentally forget to do it later… PJH

    Reply
  44. debwoolsey

    Could you do this by just adding cinnamon sugar and kind of swirl it in instead of the chips?
    Since cinnamon can be a huge yeast inhibitor, I would stir your mixture in after the batter has rested for 1 hour. ~Amy

    Reply
  45. gaa

    PJ – Another winner! Was looking for something cinnamon-y and found this recipe. I’ve been doing lots of quick breads lately so I thought I would give this a try. I always have these chips available as well as KAF vietnamese cinnamon. A-MAZ-ING!!! Perfect for satisfying that cinnamon craving!! Not too sweet at all. And you can make yourself feel better about eating it by subbing WWW flour for some of the AP. Thanks again!

    Great idea, subbing some ww flour – we should all do that more often, right? Thanks for your enthusiasm! PJH

    Reply

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