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BAKING INGREDIENTS YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE IN YOUR PANTRY

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A great baker’s secret weapons are precision, patience and most importantly, a well-stocked baking pantry. Baking is actually therapeutic for some people, and can calm an overly busy mind. This is due to the fact that the process of baking, such as following step by step instructions, using the precise measurements of ingredients and waiting patiently until the baking is done, is soothing due to the pattern that you need to follow.

In order for you to be able to harness the therapeutic powers of baking whenever you need to, your pantry should hold all the regular ingredients required for any of the recipes you may want to try.

Here are the pantry basics and staples a baker should always have in his baking arsenal:

Flour – Flour is the baking workhorse amongst your baking ingredients. Baking is not complete without flour because this is the building block of baked goods. There are different types of flour ideal for different baked goods. Having a variety in stock is recommended so you can choose the ideal type of flour needed for the dough you want to create. Make sure you have the common types of flour in stock like bread flour, cake flour, and all-purpose flour.

Sugar – Sugar is an essential baking pantry staple. Recipes call for different types of sugars depending on the taste you want to achieve. Make sure you have brown sugar, white sugar, caster sugar, and confectioner’s sugar ready in case you need to make icing sugar, caramel or for adding sweetness to your dough.

Butter – Butter is an extremely versatile baking ingredient. With butter always in your baking arsenal, you will never run out of options for serving up delicious sweet baked goodies at any time.  Butter perfectly blends with sugar to make caramel sauce, and it is also used to grease pots or baking pans. Also, mixing butter with crumbs will help you make easy pie crusts.

Eggs – Eggs are also in the must-have list of baking ingredients, and is used as a binder for your baked items. These are also used for brushing the top of your dough to give bread a delicious, golden colour on top.

Baking powder, soda and yeast – These are leavening agents and are needed when baking breads, cookies and cakes. These are essential to your list of ingredients in a baking pantry because they make your baked goods rise.

Chocolate – Who doesn’t love chocolate? This comfort food not only produces happy hormones when eaten but is also a delicious addition to any baking recipe. It is a versatile ingredient you can use on your baked goods and it will surely make them more delicious.

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EASY RECIPE FOR THE WEEK – BAKED HONEY MUSTARD FRENCH CHOPS

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 kilo French cut pork chops, 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried rosemary and thyme
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients well. Dip each chop into the marinade, making sure all the meat is coated, before putting into deep dish.
  2. Once all chops have been dipped in the marinade, pour the marinade over the chops and place the dish with the chops in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  3. Once marinated, remove from marinade and prepare to sear.
  4. Heat up two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet and sear each chop for 2 minutes on each side. Make sure to also sear the edges of the chops by holding these upright on these sides as these are being seared.
  5. Place each seared chop on a baking rack placed on top of a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.
  7. Remove from oven and serve with the drippings poured on top or on the side.
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EASY RECIPE FOR THE WEEK – ORANGE CHIFFON CAKE

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Chiffon is probably one of the cakes Filipinos love, and this may be because of its airy and light nature. Orange is also a flavor that we love, primarily because of its fresh and refreshing taste. Here, we combine orange and chiffon cake in an amazingly tasty and somewhat easy recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder, double-acting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 9 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 7 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup orange juice, fresh
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest

PROCEDURE:

  1. Preheat your home or bakery oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Next, sift together the flour, half of the granulated white sugar, the double-acting baking powder, and the salt into a bowl, set aside.
  3. In another bowl, with the use of a hand mixer, whisk together the egg yolks, oil or melted butter, zest, orange juice, and vanilla. Once incorporated and smooth, slowly add in the flour mixture, mixing only until the batter is smooth. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat at high until these are foamy. Add the 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, and continue beating the egg whites until these can form stiff peaks. Slowly add the other half of the granulated white sugar to your egg whites, and continue beating until stiff glossy peaks can be formed.
  5. Add one third of the egg whites mixture into the prepared batter mixture, then once incorporated, fold in the remaining egg whites carefully to keep it light and airy.
  6. Carefully pour the batter into an ungreased, 10-inch tube pan. Choose a pan that is 4 inches deep, has feet and comes with a removable bottom. Bake your chiffon cake in the middle of your preheated oven for an hour or so. You can also check if your cake is done near that time with the use of a cake tester. If it comes out clean, it is done.
  7. Invert your tube pan immediately onto a cooling rack, then let your orange chiffon cake cool completely while still in the pan, upside down and resting on the cooling rack.
  8. Once cooled, to remove the cake from the pan, run a spatula or a very thin and long knife around the outer as well as the tube edges of the pan. Turn the cake out onto the cooling rack again.
  9. You can serve this as is, or you can add your favorite glaze, icing, or frosting on this.
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BAKING TIP OF THE WEEK – BAKING INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS PART 1

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While we said in the past that substituting certain ingredients when you are baking is rather unacceptable, there will be times when substitutions are needed, and this is when you find yourself mixing your ingredients together and realizing that you lack one or two things. Instead of running to the store, or wasting what you already began mixing, here are some substitutions that you can use. Just make sure that you measure properly to ensure that you do not mess up your recipe entirely.

  1. If you are out of baking powder, what you need to do is, to create a 1 teaspoon substitute, is to mix together 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, with 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch and half a teaspoon of cream of tartar.
  2. If you are out of baking soda, and you need half a teaspoon of this, you can use sodium bicarbonate as a substitute. You can also use double acting baking powder, but you will need 2 teaspoons for every half teaspoon of baking soda needed in your recipe, and you will need to substitute whatever acidic liquid is added to your recipe with a non-acidic one.
  3. When you are out of dry bread crumbs, and you need this for your recipe, there are actually quite a few viable replacements you can choose from. For every cup of breadcrumbs needed, you can replace this with an equal amount of 1.) cracker crumbs; 2.) crushed cornflakes; 3.) fine crushed or ground oatmeal; 4.) crushed potato chips.
  4. If your recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, you can substitute this with unsweetened chocolate mixed in with a tablespoon of white, granulated sugar. On the flip-side, if you are looking for unsweetened chocolate, simply mix natural cocoa powder with some butter or shortening (3 tablespoons of cocoa and 1 tablespoon of butter or shortening for every ounce needed).
  5. When you are asked to add strong, brewed coffee to a recipe and you do not have a coffee maker, let alone the grinds to make these with, simply add some instant espresso powder to your recipe. For each 1/4 cup of strong brewed coffee needed, 2 tablespoons of espresso powder in 3 tablespoons of hot water should do the trick.
  6. Cornstarch is often asked for when a thickening agent is required, but if you do not have this, there are a few substitutes that will work just as well. For every 1/4 tablespoon of cornstarch being asked for, the substitutions you can use include: 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon rice flour or potato flour, and 2 tablespoons instant tapioca.
  7. Need cream of tartar but do not have any in your kitchen? Half a teaspoon of cream of tartar can be substituted with the same amount of lemon juice or even white vinegar.
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AMERICAN INFLUENCES IN FILIPINO BAKING

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We all know that the Philippines has been conquered a few times by many different cultures, and with each invasion, these different cultures have left their mark on us. Not only do we have mixed heritage citizens like Filipino-Americans, Filipino-Chinese, Filipino-Spanish individuals, but we can also see these influences in the food that we serve and eat. We have many food hybrids that can be easily called a fusion of local and international cuisine.

The same goes for our baked goodies. A lot of the things that you can see being served in bakeries and bakeshops all over the country have some influence gained from these conquerors, and we all enjoy these hybrid goodies every day. What are these bakery favorites that show such culture mixtures?

Sliced bread – also called “tasty” by many, sliced loaves of bread is one of the favorites of Filipinos, primarily because you can eat this with just about anything. You can make it into toast, you can make sandwiches out of these, and you can even use this to make croutons and bread pudding. This kind of bread can be made using white flour, however with people becoming more conscious about their health, variations that are considered healthier, like whole wheat and multi-grain.

Dinner rolls – these are also American influenced breads that you can see in many different forms in the Philippines. One of the variants you may have seen in many bakeshops and bakeries is the pan de leche, or in English, milk bread. Pan de sal can also be considered a type of dinner roll, particularly because of the evolved version which is softer than the original de sal of old. These breads are also somewhat sweet, which is also how American dinner rolls taste as well.

Pies and tarts – Filipinos have their own variations of the American pie, and these are made with a similar flaky crust but with fillings that are very local. Fillings like coconut (buko pie), pineapple, and egg custard, are some of the favorites of the local populace. When it comes to tarts, you will notice that most of the fillings are made out of nuts. Pili nut, cashew nut, and even peanuts are used to create sweet and sticky fillings for these American inspired mini pastries.

Puto cheese – these are actually the local version of cupcakes, and are made out of rice flour, although a few are already made out of all-purpose flour. Unlike cupcakes though, these mini cakes are steamed instead of baked, making these lighter and fluffier than traditional cupcakes.

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EASY RECIPE FOR THE WEEK – TOMATO, MUSHROOM, AND BASIL SPAGHETTI

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Almost everyone is used to eating spaghetti with meat sauce, and spaghetti carbonara. There are other spaghetti recipes out there that are just as tasty, which you can add to your restaurant’s menu. Here is one that is vegetarian, which is just as tasty and rather addictive.

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams Pasta Italiana Spaghetti
  • 1 can Contadina Stewed Tomatoes with Italian herbs
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped (or 1 teaspoon onion powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Make sure that it is al dente when cooked.
  2. In a skillet or wok, saute the spices and the mushrooms in the olive oil. Cook until aromatic and the mushrooms are slightly brown.
  3. Add in the stewed tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, crushing the bigger chunks of tomatoes as you stir.
  4. Let this simmer for a few minutes on low, then add in the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate. Dilute with a little bit of pasta water if necessary. Season to taste.
  5. Let the mixture simmer for a few more minutes, then add in the cooked pasta.
  6. Sprinkle the top with shredded parmesan, stir to incorporate and remove from heat.
  7. Serve with a sprinkling of grated parmesan on top, garlic toast, and decorate with a fresh basil leaf.
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CHOOSING THE RIGHT COMMERCIAL KITCHEN EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER

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Finding the right supplier for your kitchen equipment can mean the difference between having a successful food business and one that is struggling. This is because not all manufacturers are the same, therefore you should be careful when choosing a supplier to trust with your commercial kitchen needs. How do you determine if the supplier you are aiming at giving your trust to is indeed trustworthy? Here are some things you need to consider:

If your commercial kitchen equipment supplier is online, check for reviews and recommendations – there are some reviews that cannot be trusted because competitors can actually create negative reviews just to bring their biggest competitors down. However, more-often-than-not, you can trust these commentaries about the manufacturer or supplier, particularly if there are more positive comments than there are negative ones. Simply check out what people say about the manufacturer you are eyeing and assess their worth from there.

Ask questions on their Facebook page or on their contact us page on their website – never hesitate to ask pertinent questions when you are assessing a potential supplier for your kitchen equipment needs. These things can cost you a lot of money, so it is important that you get all the details and information you need before you spend your hard earned money on anything. You will need to determine if the answers you are getting are truthful as well, and this you will need to base on how the answer is delivered to you.

Ask other people about the company – if you know of someone who has worked with this company, you might want to ask them about their experience with such a supplier. While not everyone will have the same kind of experience with such a seller, if the feedback is generally good, then you can probably trust the supplier. If not, it might be a good idea to look around a little more or to ask for referrals.

Call them and assess how they handle customers – there are some companies who are not great with customer service, and while they may have good quality equipment, not being able to get the kind of customer experience that you expect should be a red flag. If a company has sucky customer handling skills, this would indicate that if you have a problem with what you purchase from them, you will have a hard time with after-sales concerns. If they are already discourteous at the onset, even before you buy anything, how much kinder will they be once they have closed the sale and have no need for your patronage?

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WHERE TO FIND THE BEST CUSTOMIZABLE KITCHEN EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR BUSINESS

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If you are thinking of opening up a food business, or are already running one but want to upgrade your equipment, you will want to find the best possible equipment for it. Where do you get the equipment you want and need for this purpose? There are many places where you can find what you require, and here are some of the avenues you can try:

Facebook – yes, everyone is on Facebook, and apparently, so are the manufacturers of commercial kitchen equipment. The FB pages of these companies usually carry pictures of their products on them, special offers they may have, and other information that may be useful to their customers. You can also ask the administrators of these pages questions about the products the company produces, if they can customize, and other things you want to learn about the company.

World Wide Web – just like Facebook, almost all businesses are now online and now have a website. These companies can be searched on Google with the use of terms that they feel their customers will use to find them, and these can include the many different kinds of equipment that they sell as well as the terms people often use for these like “kitchen equipment” or “stainless steel equipment” or “commercial kitchen equipment”.

Through Referrals – you can actually ask friends, family, and colleagues if they know of any kitchen equipment store they can recommend to you. You can also ask restaurants you eat at what equipment they use in the kitchen and who their supplier is. If you are planning on putting up a bakeshop or a café, you can ask the bakeries or cafés that you see around you where they bought their equipment as well. Not all of them may be receptive to you and will answer your questions, but there are bound to be a few who will.

By Going to Manufacturing Locales – there are some places in your specific city or town that people go to when they look for specific items that they need. For example, when people need electronics and parts for electronic items, they go to Quiapo, if they need clothing, accessories, and textiles that are cheap, they go to Divisoria. Go to where most of the equipment manufacturers have their stores and ask around. You can also look around to see which stores sell the kind of equipment that you need.

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EASY RECIPE FOR THE WEEK – BAKED HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN WINGS

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients, except for the sesame seeds. Let marinate for an hour.
  2. Place in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add half a cup of water, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the liquid and place the drained chicken onto a baking sheet lined with foil.
  4. Let the chicken air dry while you preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  5. Let the liquid in the saucepan reduce further until you get a thick, syrupy sauce. Set aside.
  6. Place your chicken wings in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the skin is golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and brush the sauce over the chicken. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven when cooked and sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.
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ESSENTIAL KITCHEN EQUIPMENT FOR A START-UP RESTAURANT

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Opening a restaurant requires more than to just buy tables, chairs, plates, and the like. It also requires more than hiring your chef, waiters, and kitchen staff. It actually begins with planning what equipment to get for food preparation, and this means putting together a list of essential kitchen equipment for your business.

Putting together a list of equipment is pretty difficult, if you think about it, because you may end up buying more than what you actually need. Not only will you end up spending more, but you will also be taking up space in your kitchen for something you will not be using (or not using yet). This is why it is important that you get only the equipment your kitchen will need immediately when you start up, and to just add on as soon as the need arises.

Here is a list of the kitchen essentials you should get when you start a restaurant:

Prep Tables – before anything can be cooked, the ingredients for these dishes have to be prepped. This is where prep tables come in. Prep tables are usually made out of stainless steel, and come with flat, shiny surfaces that can be used for many things, like kneading dough, rolling out pastry, and the like. You can also place your chopping board on top of such a prep table and cut up your ingredients on this.

Refrigeration equipment – while it is ideal that restaurants buy their ingredients fresh on a daily basis, there will be times when some ingredients do not get used on the same day and will need to be stored in a cool place to help retain its freshness. This is where your refrigeration equipment come in handy. When ingredients that do not get used the same day they were bought are refrigerated or frozen, these can be used the next day or the day after that since these equipment help protect these from spoilage and from bacterial growth.

Cooking equipment – of course, how can you serve food in your restaurant if you do not have the cooking equipment you need? The most basic cooking equipment you need are stoves and ovens. You may also include a flat-top cooker and a deep fryer, if your menu has items that use these. Other cooking equipment that can be bought at a later date are those that have cooking methods can be replicated on the stove or in an oven. Panini makers, electric grills, and the like, have cooking methods that can be replicated on the stove or in the oven, so these may be purchased when you have extra for these in the future.

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WHY STAINLESS STEEL EQUIPMENT IS THE BEST FOR YOUR COMMERCIAL KITCHEN

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When you are thinking of putting up a commercial food establishment, one of the things you will need to do is to choose the equipment you will use in the kitchen. There are many options for you to choose from, but unlike a home kitchen, a stainless steel kitchen will need to be more durable and will have to withstand heavy usage and survive many more hours of use than a regular kitchen. This is why most people choose stainless steel kitchen equipment for this.

Why should you opt for stainless steel when it comes to your commercial kitchen? Why is stainless steel deemed the better choice when it comes to a kitchen that is used for business?

There are many reasons why stainless steel is best for your commercial kitchen needs, and here are some of the more notable reasons:

It is durable – stainless steel is a metal that is tarnish-resistant and rust-proof, and this makes it the best choice for your kitchen, be it home or business, since kitchens are full of moisture. It is thick enough to withstand minor bumps and hits. It is also strong enough to withstand the pounding it will experience when users utilize it with chopping boards on top and the like.

It is easy to clean – in order to maintain stainless steel equipment, you will need to keep it constantly clean. One advantage you have when you use stainless steel equipment in your kitchen is that these are easy to clean. Therefore, it is safe to assume that you can easily maintain your kitchen equipment if these are made using stainless steel, and this will also mean that these will last a long time because these are being cleaned and maintained regularly.

It is germ resistant – since stainless steel is a non-porous material, it is not a good home for bacteria, which is good news. When a surface is non-porous, bacteria cannot last too long on it, unlike porous surfaces like wood or even plastic. You simply need to wipe off the surface with a disinfectant cleaner to sanitize it quickly before use.

Does not need constant replacement – unless if you beat your stainless steel kitchen equipment with a baseball bat, or run a chainsaw through your stainless steel kitchen, it will remain intact and in good condition, for as long as you take good care of it. This means that you won’t need to replace anything for years, which also means you save a lot of money with such a kitchen in the long run.

Makes your space look bigger – since stainless steel is shiny and comes in only one color, it will make your commercial kitchen look bigger than it actually is.

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HOW TO KEEP STAINLESS STEEL KITCHEN EQUIPMENT FROM DETERIORATING

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Even though stainless steel kitchen equipment are considered durable, rust-proof, and tarnish-resistant, not taking care of these will actually open these up to damage and deterioration. You can keep your stainless steel kitchen equipment from deteriorating by making sure that take good care of these, and by ensuring that you keep these clean day in and day out.

It is also imperative that you keep a very clean kitchen from start of day till the time you close, and not just for equipment maintenance but also for health reasons and for compliance. To keep stainless steel prep tables, stainless steel shelves, and other stainless steel equipment in your kitchen clean and away from damage, here are some things you should do:

Routine cleaning – when you say routine cleaning, this means cleaning on a regular basis, like once when you open in the morning, and before closing at night. This will require cleaning agents like dishwashing soap, ammonia, disinfectants, clean water, and sponges. You will also need clean rags or pieces of cloth to wipe down these stainless steel kitchen equipment after washing.

Grease removal – sometimes stubborn grease and grime stick to stainless steel stoves and ovens, and will require more than just soap and water to clean off. One mistake people make when they try to remove grease and grime from their stainless steel stoves and ovens is they use a scouring pad without realizing that this can actually damage the surface of the metal.

All you need to remove grease and oily dirt from your stainless steel equipment is some hot water, strong dishwashing detergent, some elbow grease, and some rags. Hot water melts and softens the grease, strong dishwashing detergent ( the kind that say they can strip grease away), and careful scrubbing with soft rags can help get this job done.

Always wash and dry – when cleaning your stainless steel equipment with the use of water and detergents, make sure that after you have finished washing that you wipe the surface of your equipment dry. Do not leave any droplets of water or moisture on it since this will leave streaks and stains that are unsightly and can sometimes be difficult to remove when left to dry on its own.

Never use rough and sharp cleaning materials – while stainless steel is indeed tarnish and rust proof, it is not scratch proof. Using scouring materials on it will leave scars on the metal, which will look very ugly over time. Use only soft cloths for cleaning and always use a cutting board on it when cutting stuff on the stainless steel tables and surfaces.

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