Ask the Expert: December 2018
I’m a first-time croissant baker. What’s your best advice?
The secret to making excellent croissants is the perfect lamination of the butter layered inside the dough. The trick to creating those perfect layers? Use an extra dry butter with a higher fat content, and roll out the butter and the dough as cold as possible while they’re still malleable. If the butter is too cold, however, it will crack in the layers instead of rolling out evenly; if it’s too warm, it will melt into the dough and result in a more bread-like product instead of a deliciously flaky croissant. There’s no easy way to laminate the dough, so practice makes perfect. It has taken me many years and thousands of croissants to get it down, so don’t get discouraged if they aren’t perfect the first time—just keep trying!
Julian Perrigo-Jimenez, Chef/Owner // Julian’s Pâtisserie and Café // 6610 Folsom-Auburn Road, Suite 7, Folsom // 916-936-4735, julianscafe.com
When is the best time to prune my trees and why is it important?
Pruning—such as deadwood removal or thinning—is acceptable year-round in Northern California, but tree species can also determine timing. Small trees should be pruned carefully, and newly planted trees shouldn’t be pruned heavily. Structural pruning early on in a tree’s life can prevent other issues that’ll help it grow correctly. Recent research has proven that aboveground growth encourages root growth. We recommend consulting with an arborist to determine what your trees needs are.
Phillip Dufort, ISA Certified Arborist // Acorn Arboricultural Services, Inc. // 631 Commerce Drive, Roseville // 916-787-8733, 787tree.com