Making Dough — Cookbook Review … and I made Croissants

When I first got the e-mail to review this book, I thought it was a joke. I thought it was spam … but i wanted it to be real soooo badly that I provided all of the required information, and remained hopeful.


When the book Making Dough by Russell Van Kraayenburg showed up at my door step, again, I thought it was a joke. Hah, me? – review a cookbook, an actual cookbook with amazing pictures, and recipes, test out, and give my opinion on someones labour of love – stepping into their shoes and experimenting with their baking journey. Me, are you sure?!?!  

I knew i had a great task at hand.

I was honored.


So first, thank you Quirk Books, Pinguin Random House Canada and Russell … can I call you Russel, like we’re friends?!?!

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I cracked open the book, loving the sound of that spine cracking and the smell of fresh pages. In the most ironic possible way … the book was “recipes and ratios for perfect pastries” hahaha … good joke. Remember how I’m crazy scared of pastries … again, was someone playing a joke on me?!?!

I thought though, this was my chance, this would actually be a true test of this book. I’m not a dainty baker, ask me to dump cake batter in a pan and bake it, done — ask me to scoop out cookies on tray suuuuurrreee … ask me to make a soufflé-fra-li-lah … yea, no, not happening. I normally put pastries/ doughs under that “ soufflé-fra-li-lah” category.


As I skimmed through the book, divided by 12 key dough recipes I realized, I’m actually a big huge liar … I’m not actually scared of pastires, according to Russell’s book, I’ve actually made tons of pastries!! Scones, done it – Biscuits, nailed it … and the idea that Gnocchi is a type of Pate A Choux excited me … I thought, you know what, I can totally do this.

And then I decided to make croissants.

And not just any old kind of croissants, but poolish croissants – promised as a more “yeasty flavoured” croissant.

Review of the book:

My first reaction was, its beautiful. I flipped through the pages drooling and intrigued by recipes like Bourbon-Maple Glazed Cheddar Bacon Biscuits, Blueberry Mascarpone Hand pies and Salted Caramel Eclairs topped with Salted Caramel Popcorn … 2 words: I.DIE.  I knew it would be tough to narrow down exactly what I was going to bake.

As I continued reading, I realized this wasn’t just a cookbook – and in fact if I were to give it an alternate title – I would call it “ The Theory of Dough” the time, patience and detail included in each of the steps, the explanations included in how your dough should look as you progress through a recipe, the attention to explaining each component of your masterpiece it definitely gave me a new perspective on baking.


Quite often, baking is compared to science – and I suppose it is ( although i was NEVER good at science) Russell’s book is a true testament to the science of baking. I wouldn’t say it’s overly technical, but it is extremely detailed. I would deem it a baking textbook, one that every ambitious baker should have on their shelf. There is a lot to learn, and Russell makes it easy to do so.

I would definitely refer Making Dough to a seasoned baker; while the steps included are clear and easy to follow – I found that a lot of the required tools ( a kitchen scale, candy thermometer, marble slab) just aren’t tools a home bakers like myself have on hand ( hehe … this could DEFINITELY be a hint to that Santa!!). I also found it challenging to work with weight measurements as opposed to cups, tablespoons and teaspoons.


For those who are new to the baking game, I think this book could serve as a great method to learn the ins-and-outs of how to be a great baker … I would definitely package this book with a couple items – a food scale, thermometer, pastry brush and ruler … hhheeellllloooo foodie gift basket!! 

Baking from the book:

First … look what I made!!

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Croissants are NOT an easy feat – I must say, this recipe has taken my baking ambition to a whole new level. I’m going to deem this a win, as a first time try but honestly, I probably won’t be making croissants again in a while.


They.take.SO.long. either that, or I just lack any sort of patients!! The result was a flakey pastry and buttery center – worth the 26 hours …. Mmmm … for the smell of my home; yes – for how they actually turned out, not so much. I must have done something wrong ( and it’s very possible …) my croissants were heavy, not light and fluffy as I hoped. They also baked a lot faster than the suggested 45 minutes. While the tops were golden brown, the bottoms were toasted – not burnt, but definitely more cooked than probably necessary.

Baking from the book was relatively easy – the instructions provided are clear, and detailed. One thing that definitely stood out ( and maybe this was based on the recipe that I choose) I continuously had to flip back and forth to reference other information; as well, as I mentioned before, some of the tools required, I just didn’t have and I ended up improvising.


There are a ton of other recipes I would like to try. Overall, I would say Making Dough is a keeper – ideal for any seasoned baker as a Christmas present; and a new adventure for novice bakers such as myself.


Honey Drizzled Turkey, Cranberry, Sweet Chili Walnut Blue potato pizza with crispy sage


Holy jumpin jones … do I have a pizza recipe that’s about to blow your mind!!

But first, a little story …

A couple of weeks ago Food Bloggers of Canada advertised for their members an opportunity to participate in The Little Potato Company event – each lucky blogger would recipe a couple bags of spuds – make something jazzy – blog about it – and we’ll all live happily ever after.


So I entered. I did so without even thinking much about it … seriously, this little blog wasn’t going to get the chance – there are so many stinking out of this world bloggers that are members of Food Bloggers of Canada , why would I get the chance of spud serendipity?

Fast forward 2 weeks … and this shows up!! 2 Bags of Something Blue Potatoes & 2 Bags of Fingerlings


Of course, the first thing I do is call my mom. And this is how the conversation went ;

“Ma, you need to come to my hose to eat potatoes … I just scored 4 wicked cool bags”

“For free?”

“ yes mother, for free …please come over”

“Dear child, no one in their right mind gets as excited as you do over potatoes … but I’ll be over as soon as possible” 

I wish I made that up. I WAS PUMPED!! The Little Potato company chose me … and I hope I did them proud with my

Honey Drizzled Turkey, Cranberry, Sweet Chili Walnut Blue potato pizza with crispy sage.


While I was compensated with these potatoes, all opinions are my very own … and now, the good – bad – and beautiful about these little taters.


–          They are little, cute and perfect for roasting alongside your holiday meal

–          LOVE the packaging and how compact they fit in my tiny refrigerator

–          LOVE the burst of blue

–          LOVE the thin skin

–          LOVE that this is a Canadian company



–          I wish the purple run throughout the potatoes ( this may be me, just being picky)

The Beautiful :


And now, let’s talk pizza.

Seriously when it comes to pizza – quality matters to me, especially when I’m making it at home. I want fresh – I want exotic – I was sweet- spicy – tangy – rich – a crunchy crust, and chewy dough… and I want it to all work together … read : Pizza Snob. And this one … BLEW MY MIND. It’s not too spicy, but there’s a kick and the honey … oooohhh the honey … and the sage … and the walnuts.


Honey Drizzled Turkey, Cranberry, Sweet Chili Walnut Blue potato pizza with crispy sage

 Pizza Dough (you can of course, also use store bought!!)

3 Cups Flour

1 Tbsp quick acting yeast

1 Tbsp Sugar

2 Tsp Sea Salt

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 1/4 Cups of Water

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In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, olive oil and water. Mix until well combined.

Pour out onto a floured surface, and knead until a smooth ball forms.

Using the original bowl, lightly spray grease. Place your dough back in, and allow to rise for at least 30 minutes.


The Pizza


10 small purple potatoes  thinly sliced, about 1/4 inch thick
½  cup olive oil, divided ¼ cup x ¼ cup

3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp sea Salt

1 Tsp ground black pepper

1 Tsp curry powder

1 Tsp cinnamon powder

½ tsp ginger powder

½ tsp ground cardamom

¼ cup sliced brie cheese

½ cup thinly sliced turkey kielbasa

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ Cup + 2 tbsp honey ( divided)

1/2 cup walnuts

1 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce

4 fresh sage leaves

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Preheat oven to 425 oc.

In a bowl, combine potatoes, ¼ cup olive oil, garlic & spices. Set aside and allow to marinade.

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In a smaller bowl, combine walnuts, ¼ cup of honey and sweet chilli sauce.

Roll out prepared pizza dough.

Top with marinated potatoes

Sporadically spread your cheese

Add turkey

Sprinkle on your cranberries & top with marinated walnuts.


Bake for 30 minutes.

While baking, in a small frying pan add ¼ of olive oil and sage leaves allow to crisp for 8 minutes. Remove from oil and set aside.


Remove pizza from oven – add sage leaves and drizzle with 2 tbsp honey.

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Verdict, Mama LTSL Loved the pizza … so did Papa … and I ate it twice again this week aka — grab some The Little Potato Company Spuds and PUMP UP THE PIZZAAAA!!