Chef Nate Appleman On His Superb Pizza Dough Recipe

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to talk to Nate Appleman, executive chef-owner of A16 in San Francisco, about his wondrous three-day pizza dough recipe. You might remember my original post, touting it.

I cornered him after he did a cooking demo at the “Worlds of Flavor International Conference” at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone campus in St. Helena.

I told him how much I LOVED his pizza dough recipe because it was so easy to make, and it resulted in such a soft, elastic dough. It’s featured in his new cookbook, “A16 Food +Wine” (Ten Speed Press), which was co-written by the restaurant’s wine director, Shelley Lindgren.

I mentioned, though, that I was more than a little skeptical at the start that the dough would actually rise, given it only had a quarter teaspoon of yeast in it to 4 cups of flour.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one.

Appleman said A LOT of people have commented to him about that. Some people thought the book had a misprint. One guy went so far as to call Appleman at the restaurant, berating him that he’d tried seven times to proof the yeast in the water without seeing any dramatic bubbling action going on.

Appleman conceded that the yeast really just dissolves in the water. So there’s no need to watch for any major frothiness to occur.

The dough recipe makes enough for four individual pizzas. You just mix flour, yeast, water, olive oil, and salt in a mixer; then let the dough ferment slowly in the fridge for about two and a half days.  It makes enough for four individual pizzas. I told Appleman that I had baked two, then froze the remaining dough.

I wondered, though, if I could have just left the remainder of the dough in the fridge one more night, and baked them off the next day. He shook his head, saying the yeast might die after the third day. He said freezing was indeed a better option.

So there you have it straight from the chef’s mouth. Now, get going on making some of that fabulous dough. 

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  • Tried out the recipe — had to say that the texture was impeccable. One quick question — what type of salt? Kosher, table or sea?

  • I will make it when Annie goes away for a few days and I have the kids and kitchen all to myself. Maybe I’ll surprise her with a pizza when she returns!

  • Ooh, Nate, you are such a thoughtful husband. What wife wouldn’t want to come home to homemade pizza!

    Henry, I use Kosher salt, just because that’s what I normally use when I cook. Sea salt is used more for finishing a dish. It’s usually pricey stuff, so sprinkle a little bit on just before enjoying a dish, so you can really get to experience the taste and texture.

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