ricotta stuffed whole wheat challah (and everything else that i ate over labor day weekend)

one uncrustable pb + j // at adult summer camp, to soak up the fireside marshmallow vodka and to fuel a late night game of heroes' quest with my new camp friends. i was the wizard! i named him frank and killed an ork with my sword and we totally crushed that game. 

one breakfast beer // if you've ever been sad that your summer camp days are behind you, just sign up for adult summer camp and then embrace the nice bearded guy at the breakfast buffet who is dispensing fancy breakfast beer from a keg.

another uncrustable pb + j // in the car on the way to minneapolis!

a pile of cherry tomatoes from our garden // also in the car on the way to minneapolis and while considering the idea that cherry tomatoes are nature's gushers. would you agree?

a vegetarian jimmy john's sammich // i think i'm becoming a vague vegetarian.

coconut bacon // no really, i actually think i'm becoming a vegetarian.

a roasted cauliflower and chickpea taco // prepared by none other than a couple cooks!!!! **happy dance** 

an ottolenghi's black pepper tofu taco // i brought tofu to a party. who am i. 

a boozy beef banh mi taco // melissa made beef and when melissa makes beef you stop entertaining the idea of becoming a vegetarian. 

pie, cookies, one luxurious bite of a morning bun // the details of which i must keep secret because they were test runs of recipes for sarah's book (!!!!) ohmygah, you're going to absolutely *need* that book. 

a variety of swedish pancakes // savored in #thefauxhouse over blog shop talk, glorious blog shop talk <3

one bite of many different glam doll donuts // with my brunch club ladies! 

a pile of salad // from whole foods on our drive back from minneapolis. our options were: stop at the state fair for dinner of fried things on a stick or stop at the whole foods for vegetables and more vegetables. we chose the opposite of yolo-ing on that one but now we have really fantastic hard-to-find-in-our-little-town vegetables for the week and i am so excited about it. 

ricotta stuffed whole wheat challah // i made these mini loaves of challah for the drive to summer camp on friday night! they were kind of in celebration of friday pizza night, because when you eat cheese stuffed bread with a fresh tomato, you basically have pizza. 

you can go a few different directions with these little loaves. i made a few personal-sized rolls and a few that are perfect for sharing with a friend (or perhaps... a date!). you could also make one large loaf, but that's not as fun. i tossed a bunch of za'atar into the dough to add extra flavor, and topped them with pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds for protein and prettiness. the seeds also add such crunchy textural fun to a fluffy challah and creamy ricotta party. these loaves are round because rosh hashanah is coming up (!!!), and yeah, with the whole wheat and seeds and everything they're definitely healthier than last year's marzipan challah and brown sugar challahbut you should go check those out too because the more challah the better the new year!

ricotta stuffed whole wheat za'atar challah mini loaves with pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds

makes 8 personal rolls or 4 medium shareable loaves



2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast

3/4 c warm water

1/4 c + 1 teaspoon sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/4 c whole wheat flour

1/4 c za'atar, optional

2 large eggs

1/3 c flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable


1 c ricotta cheese

additional shredded cheese (optional... i like using a sprinkling of parmesan cheese)

kosher salt

eggwash + topping

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

pumpkin seeds

sesame seeds

kosher salt + black pepper



In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. 

Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flours, za'atar (if using) and remaining sugar. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil.

When the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook for 7-10 minutes, adding more white flour as necessary (but try not too add too much), until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 2-3 hours. 

to shape:

Divide the dough into 4 or 8 parts, depending on how big you'd like your loaves to be. Pat them out into long rectangles (about 2 1/2" x 9" for personal rolls, 2 1/2" x 18" for medium loaves) and then spread with a thin even layer of ricotta. top with a sprinkling of additional cheese, if desired, and a sprinkling of salt. Roll up the rectangles the long way so you have long skinny snakes and and pinch the edges well to seal in the cheese. Roll the snakes into spirals to get round loaves and then let them rise for 30 more minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375ºf. 

Brush the loaves with a thin even layer of egg wash and then sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper and bake until golden brown. Begin checking for doneness after 25 minutes. Let cool slightly and enjoy! Preferably with a fresh tomato. Do the challah/fresh tomato double fist.


photo credit to alex for that second to last photo (of what melissa titled "the real housewives of food blogging" 😂), and photo credit to eggboy for the photo of me with a wooden spoon that i whittled at camp!!!!