Great Pandemic Baking Show: Schnecken

Season 4, episode 6: Sweet breads

For over a decade, my family recipe for schnecken has been sitting in a “wouldn’t it be nice to make this” pile. I finally made them, and on one hand, the recipe is imperfect. On the other hand, the recipe is perfect.

It’s a family recipe, not copyrighted to someone else, so I’ll share it here.


  • 2 packages yeast dissolved in “a little” lukewarm milk with 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp sugar (the recipe says “2 yeast”. I assume that means “2 packages” or “2 Tbsp” or another approximate equivalent)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour* (*You may need more–I ended up adding about 3/4 cup.)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • more melted butter
  • brown sugar
  • pecans
  • raisins


  1. Add flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and sour cream to the yeast mixture. Blend and knead until smooth.
  2. Set the dough aside to rise. The family recipe says to refrigerate overnight; I let it rise in our cold kitchen for an hour or so.
  3. Divide the dough in half.* Roll the first half out to a rectangle–15″ by 18″? In my kitchen, it’s all approximate. (*This is where the family recipe really goes wrong. The family recipe says to divide the dough in three, but the dough gets really too thin, and who wants to wash three muffin tins, anyway?)
  4. Spread melted butter on the dough, then sprinkle with brown sugar, pecan pieces, and raisins (or dried cranberries).
  5. Roll tightly like a jelly roll or like Chelsea buns.
  6. Cut into 12 equal pieces.
  1. Butter a muffin tin, and put a dab of brown sugar and a half pecan in each spot. Put the filled and rolled dough on top of the pecans.
  2. Repeat with the second half of the dough (or wrap the dough well and put it in the freezer so you don’t end up with 24 schnecken that all need to be eaten before they get stale).
  3. Let the buns rise for an hour.
  4. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Some of my notes about what makes the recipe imperfect are in the recipe itself. It somehow doesn’t call for enough flour, and it wants you to divide the dough into thirds instead of halves, which resulted in super thin dough and too skinny rolls.

BUT!!! The dough itself is my new favorite dough. I made a roll with just the dough and a smidge of brown sugar (from the ends I trimmed off) and HEAVEN in my mouth. I think it’s the sour cream that makes the difference (or the sour cream plus the melted butter). I will be using this dough for my sweet rolls from now on.

A few additional notes:

First, this is what happens if you don’t butter the tin adequately. Or maybe if you only use sugar for the filling instead of adding the nuts and raisins. If this happens, just soak it overnight and when you wake up, it will magically have been washed by your dad. If you don’t live with your dad, it will at least be magically easier to was yourself. You’ll note that I used walnuts instead of the pretty pecan in the recipe. I thought my parents had pecans, but I couldn’t find them when I looked. It’s not my fault that they have three freezers!

So pretty in the tins. I should probably have turned them out as soon as I took them out of the oven. That might have prevented the situation in the photo above.

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