Behind the Kitchen Door: The Hungry Ghost

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By Nikki Gardner

Best known for their signature sourdough breads and sweet and savory pastries, Hungry Ghost Bread also dishes out Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas. Five nights a week, pizza maker Chris Figge feeds another log into the wood-fired Llopis brick oven.

On busy nights, Figge turns out 75 to 80 pizzas from their take-out menu. Made with organic unbleached flour (Champlain Valley Milling in Westport, NY) and seasonally sourced ingredients, each pie begins as a humble sourdough ball.

Dough prep starts the previous day: It’s mixed and then proofed overnight in a refrigerator; 12 hours later, Figge weighs and shapes dough rounds that rest for an hour or so before he forms them into 12- or 16-inch pies to order.

The sought-after Margherita pizza goes into the oven with a layer of seasoned tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella from Maplebrook Farm in Vermont. Ten minutes later, it comes out bubbling and charred. A sprinkling of fresh chopped basil and a drizzle of olive oil completes the pie. The hardest part is choosing which one of their 15 (meat, vegetarian, and vegan) pizzas to try.

Recipe: Hungry Ghost Bread’s Margherita Pizza Recipe

Hungry Ghost Bread bakes pizzas to order Wednesday through Sunday starting at 5pm.
62 State St., Northampton
413-582-9009 ◆ HungryGhostBread.com

Nikki Gardner is a writer and photographer whose work has appeared in Artful Blogging, The Huffington Post, Smithsonian’s Food & Think, and The Daily Meal. She shares seasonal recipes on WWLP’s Mass Appeal and in her cooking classes at Different Drummer’s Kitchen in Northampton. Find her online at Art & Lemons (ArtAndLemons.com).