The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain Aux Raisins and Cream Cheese Snails

Pain Aux Raisins and Cream Cheese Snails

Authentic Pain Aux Raisins are one of my favorite treats. Rich and sweet without being cloyingly so like your typical donut or danish, they make the perfect accompaniment to a good cup of joe.

Reading The Village Baker I came across a recipe for them and was surprised at how simple they are to make. So last weekend I tried making them and have been blissed out eating them all week.

The one type of danish that I have a weakness for is a cream cheese danish. Wouldn't you know it, the next recipe in the book is for a cheese danish. It even uses the same base recipe. I couldn't resist.

Without further ado, the recipes.

I lied: a little further ado.

If you don't have powdered milk in the house, don't sweat it: just replace 1/2 cup of the water with milk.

Note that this Pain Au Lait is essentially a Poor Man's Brioche. If you want you snails to be richer you could substitute a higher class (more butter) Brioche recipe. I find these to be plenty rich for my taste.

Pain Au Lait

1 package (2 1/2 teaspoon) active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 cup water
3 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons powdered milk
4 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs
6 tablespoons butter, softened

If using active dry yeast, proof it in 1/2 cup of warm water for 10 minutes. If you are using instant yeast, as I did, it can just be mixed in with the dry ingredients in the next step.

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, powdered milk, and sugar. Add the yeast, water, and eggs and mix until ingredients are combined. Add the softened butter and mix or knead until the ingredients are thoroughly combined (Ortiz doesn't describe an extensive kneading step in this recipe, so I guess it is unnecessary). You should have a fairly sticky, satiny dough.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Punch the dough down, return it to the bowl and cover it again, and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, divide the dough in half and, while still cold, use each half to prepare one batch (8) of each type of snails (or two batches of one of them, if the other doesn't interest you).

Before beginning, you'll need to make a simple egg glaze that you will use in both recipes:

Egg Glaze

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Whisk to combine.

Cream Cheese Snails

(makes 8 snails)

3/4 cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon egg glaze

Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, approximately 8 by 12 inches. Slice the rectangle into 8 long strips.

Stretch each strip as long and thin as you can (Ortiz says out to 24 inches. I only got mine about 12 to 15 inches long but they were still fine). Twist each strip and then curl each up to make a snail shape.

Place the snails on a parchment-lined or well greased baking sheet and brush them gently with the egg glaze.

Use your fingers to create a well in the center of the snail and then place one tablespoon of the cheese mixture on top. Ortiz also recommends adding a tablespoon of jam, but I find the cheese alone the be plenty sweet.

Let the snails rise for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until they are puffy. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees and bake the snails for between 15 to 17 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Immediately after removing from the oven, paint then with a light sugar glaze:

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

If you like them to be extremely sweet, you can dribble them with a fondant glaze (1 to 2 teaspoons of hot water combined with 2/3 cup of powdered sugar) after they have cooled. I did not.

Pain Aux Raisins

(makes 8 snails)

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup raisins

Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, approximately 8 by 10 inches. Coat the rectangle with the egg glaze and then spread the cinnamon, raisin, and sugar mixture over it.

Roll the the dough up into a large log and then slice it into 8 pieces. Place each of the pieces onto a parchment-lined or well greased baking sheet, press down on them with the palm of your hand to flatten them, and then paint them gently with the egg glaze.

Let the snails rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour until they are puffy. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees and bake the snails for between 15 to 17 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Immediately after removing from the oven, paint then with the same sugar glaze you painted the cream cheese snails with above. Once again, If you like them on the sweet side dribble them with a fondant glaze (1 to 2 teaspoons of hot water combined with 2/3 cup of powdered sugar) after they have cooled. I did not think this was necessary.


crumbbum's picture

Floyd, do you use 3 eggs in the dough and a fourth for the wash?

Floydm's picture


MrsRoc's picture

So I made these on my day off, yes baking has consumed my life, but when they baked they baked up- meaning when I pulled them out they were mounded up, domed shaped as opposed to your nice and flat ones. Any idea what I did wrong? They tasted great though and my in-laws are now expecting fresh pastries every weekend!

Floydm's picture

I think flattening them with your hand as much as possible prior to the final rising is necessary to keep them from rising too high.

shi's picture

I used your basic recipe but added marmalade while kneading the dought and also added more marmalade, sugar and chocolate pieces as filling and ommited the raisins. The rolls were yummy and I shared them with my brothers family.They too loved them and asked for the recipe.
Thanks for this greeat site and faboulour recipes.

juliebean's picture


These are wonderful...I will most definitely be writing about them later this afternoon, but I had to thank you now!


juliebean's picture

They turned out marvelously:

Thanks again!!!

Floydm's picture

Sure thing. Looks like they turned out beautiful.

cognitivefun's picture

I made these snails thanks to you and they are awesome. I have had 4 already. I found stretching the dough to be fun and I did get 24" or so. Much appreciated.

martemom's picture

Floyd, I made the dough for this today and it didn't rise at all!  I've made things with yeast before, mainly pizza dough and I've never had a problem.  I made it with the 1/2 C milk instead so I put the yeast in the 1/4 C water for a few minutes before mixing it in.  Any thoughts?  I still plan on making the snails tomorrow, even if it didn't rise overnight in the fridge.

Floydm's picture

Are you using active dry yeast? Because active dry needs to be activated in warm water before being thrown in the dough.

I baked these just last weekend using the recipe off the site and it worked great. I was using instant yeast though.

martemom's picture

I know, Dorota directed me to the recipe through LJ.  :)  I did put the yeast in warm water first, but only 1/4C since I only used 1/4C water and the rest was milk. It seemed to double overnight, but they aren't as big as the ones in your photo.  oh well I'm sure they'll taste great anyway.  I'll take pics.  Thanks! This site is wonderful, my dad will love it!

martemom's picture

I figured out what I did.  The water I used to activate the yeast was too hot and I killed it.  :(  Live and learn! Thank goodness I learned before I made the Thanksgiving rolls today!

chiaoapple's picture

You don't have to proof active dry yeast in water. You might want to do it as a precaution, just to make sure the yeast is fresh and alive. I've mixed active dry yeast (NOT rapid rise) in with dry ingredients, and added liquid that was around 110 degrees. Bread rose without a hitch, with no discernable change in taste. I do this when I'm in an extra hurry.

luv2bake's picture

Question about the water?

 I just made up the dough, and noticed in the listed ingredients it's

3/4 cup water, but in the instructions, you say 1/2 cup of water. I'm

keeping fingers crossed that it's 3/4 cup, because that's what I used

with the instant yeast.

 Thanks for a great site! There are so many knowledgeable people

here, and I love looking at all the wonderful pictures.

Thanks for your help!

Clover's picture

Thank you so very much for posting this, it inspired me last Saturday night to try something new!  I never thought I would ever bake anything like this, silly I know, but I am such a new baker I thought things like this were way above me!  So, with my laptop on the countertop, I went to work!  The steps were easy to follow and very clear!  I think I did mess up a little bit, I didn't have dry milk or instant yeast, so I believe I introduced a little too much liquid into my dough.  (Now I know for next time!!) But after a night in the fridge and some light kneading in the morning, it came out looking wonderful!!  After its time in the oven, it was pure joy! A huge hit in my house, and I was super impressed with the cream cheese snails... I think I gained 20 pounds because I couldn't put them down!  Thank you!! 

(May I post a picture here of my finished snails??)


dstroy's picture

Picture: please do!

Floydm's picture

Yum. Glad to hear they came out well. And, yes, feel free to post photos. If you don't have image hosting somewhere else, You can upload them to the gallery here.

luv2bake's picture

Mine didn't not turn out as well, but I think I've found

out what my problem is. Flour! Most of my baking is

cakes, cookies, sweets, and I've been using White

Lily for a couple of years with great results. It wasn't

until I started branching out that I experienced flops. I

have had problems with pizza dough, it won't brown and is

tough. The cream cheese snails dough was so soft, I couldn't

twist it. I did add extra flour, but I wasn't pleased with the outcome.

I've bought some different flours to experiment with, and will try again.

Thanks for a great, informative board. I enjoy all the photos, and lessons

are very helpful!

caryn's picture

I, too, made them these sweet buns this weekend, and they came out great.  The recipe is a keeper. It will be fun to try  many variations.  Thank you, floydm!!

Trishinomaha's picture

I made these yummy snails this morning - a batch of cream cheese and a batch of cherry (my husband's favorite). I need a little pratice but the results were delicious! Thanks Floyd! I'm learning so much from this site and trying things I never thought I could manage. Tomorrow---the blueberry cream cheese braid which husband and I will take to our respective work places on Monday. I have the BBA  Sourdough barm warming now and will bake later today. I'll let you know how it turned out...

Here are the snail pictures:  1 and 2 are the cherry snails after baking, 3 is the cherry rising, 4 are the cream cheese done, 5 are the basic snails after forming and 6 is the cream cheese rising.






Floydm's picture

Man, those snails look great. I may have to make them again soon myself.

Trishinomaha's picture

I'm working on the sponge for the blueberry cream cheese braid now....


KipperCat's picture

Trish, can you tell me a bit about the cherry filling?  I have some sweet cherries in the freezer.  would these work for something like this, or do you use tart pie cherries?

Trishinomaha's picture

I cheated and just used cherry preserves from the grocery store - pretty easy. The cherries in the preserves are sweet I'm sure but homemade sour cherry preserve in these rolls would be to die for!


KipperCat's picture

Thanks Trish. Using preserves makes sense. I'll probably keep using my frozen sweet cherries in smoothies.  They are quite good that way.

ydavis's picture


Those snails look delicious! I really want to give this recipe a try. I have a question on the rising time.

In the recipe, it says to let it rise until doubled in size. Punch it down and return it to the bowl and place it in the refrigerator overnight. Then finish the remaining steps the next morning. Can I just let it rise the second time on the counter for another hour instead of waiting till the next day? I would like to make them on a weekday evening and have them baked the same night. That way we could have bring them to work for breakfast.

Thank you.

okieinalaska's picture

Ydavis, I am not Flodym, but I made these a couple of days ago and found that the dough is super sticky and after sitting overnight in the fridge  and chilling I could work with it the next day.  I don't think I would have been able to work with it if I had used it like you suggested. But maybe that's just me. : )

Amy in Alaska

Jamila's picture

I made the dough last night, however even after being in the fridge overnight, it's way to sticky to even shape. What did I do wrong? I even added more flour this morning and still too tacky to shape. Advise please? I bake often and this has never happened. No way I am throwing out this dough.



Ruth Redburn's picture
Ruth Redburn

    I just got around to making these yummy Pain Aux Raisins.  I mixed them in my bread machine, tho' and then refrigerated over nite.  Made them in the morning rather late . They are magnificent as others have said.  I can't imagine the dough being too wet to work with; mine was good.  I don't think the kneading in the machine hurt them.  Wishing I had a camera to show them to you all.                Ruth Redburn

tanpohkee's picture

I tried this recipe and the dough was very, very wet. Like cake batter. I added another half a cup of flour and it was still too wet but at least it was more dough-like. I followed the rest of the recipe as written. The dough was soft and tend to break when I twisted it. The dough spread outwards after proving instead of upwards. Oven spring was good. Tasted good too. 

I used very big eggs (about 65g without the shells) so I would reduce the number of eggs to 2 or reduce water. I would also shape the dough into a knot instead of twisting it because the twisted pattern seem to even out after baking, making it rather plain. I would also use very cold water to make the dough easier to handle. Hope this helps others who wants to try it.

LetsKillJoy's picture

I have been searching for this recipe for so long! Last spring I stayed in Paris for a week and became addicted to these "tarte aux raisins." I love them so much and look for them everywhere. This was my first time baking ANYTHING from scratch so I'm very proud of myself. The dough started out sticky but I added a bit more flour and it turned out fine. The pain au raisin turned out wonderfully! I am so happy and will definitly make them again. Baking is some hard work.

I'm gonna try and get my pictures uploaded to show my handiwork!

michelle.a's picture

Awesome recipe, fantastic instructions and just downright delicious!  A keeper!!!

Many thanks!


ps - The only addition was sprinkling a bit of Demerara Sugar on top before baking...YUM... 


Cosmopolita's picture

Hi Floyd, I tried your recipe and it's  fantastic. You can see the result on my italian blog ( ).

Many thanks!

gmitch's picture

Found you're website recently and had to try this recipe! Never thought I could make a pastry like this! I followed the recipe as written with Great results! I thought the dough should be kneaded briefly to start and next time I Will try that. my rolls should have risen a bit more. But the smell and taste was A one!!!!!!   Now I feel I can try to make an "artisan" type bread using your site!  Thanks SOOOO much Floyd!!!!

mmdione's picture

Bonsoir Floyd,

I took half a day off and tried this recipe. The only change I made was switching the sugar with maple syrup.


Here is phase 2... before glazing...

and the final result...

Thanks again Floyd!

Lindash4's picture

These are beautiful. Since using the liquid maple syrup, I imagine you had to use more flour? I would like to use honey instead of sugar.

mmdione's picture

Phase 1...

Et voila!

Just_Bill's picture

I've gained 5lbs just reading and looking. I'm going to try my hand in the kitchen for a change! Mr. must love what you're doing and sure do it well to keep us all encouraged and willing to try new things! Very best to all...

alliezk's picture

The cream cheese snails sound like they would be amazing with a sour balsamic cherry sauce added on the top or after baking. I will have to save this recipe and plot.... I would add balsamic vinegar to everything if I could!

Julia_T's picture

Thank you for the recipes! Great results here.  Remember to oil your bowl for risings even if the notes don't mention it.  Yes, the dough was a bit wet, but I just added a little flour and it turned out fine.  Also, I made this during a day rather than overnight -- just substituted a 90 minute rise and then an hour in the refrigerator, for the overnight sojourn in the chiller.

Pain au Lait results - Thanks, Floyd M and Joe Ortiz!

Can't get my pics to show up in this post but they are BEAUTIFUL! -- see


Julia_T's picture

I meant, they are beautiful because the recipes are great!!!  :)

Narien's picture

Floyd, thank you so much for this recipe. I topped the cream cheese ( to which i added a couple of pinches of cinnamon) with chocolate, sour cherries and dried apricots (that i rehydrated with some hot water) For the second part, i substituted raisins with an almost full cup of a mix of apricots and sour cherries. I`ll definitely put this one on the favourites list.

TeonaWilliams's picture

I've just registered to say thank you. I'm a big fan of your website.

All your recipes are so easy and tasty. This recipe is amazing. All my family like how I cook now:)


arlo's picture

I just made these this weekend and my fiance loved them! So I made a second batch and took them to my bakery on late Monday night/morning. The head baker ate two of them and just loved the dough!

Next time I am thinking about doing cream cheese and strawberries, since the pictures above made me really crave something a bit more heavy than raisins.

EvaB's picture

Its just on noon, and I've been up since 5:30 am and am hungry and what do I find, but gorgeous pictures of yummy (bad for me as a diabetic) food!

They look soooooo good! Will definitely have to try some, and see if I can fob them off on my husband (the rat with perfect health) I am sure he will take them in a flash, as he just called to rave about the bread I baked for him yesterday.

empanadalady's picture

I register to let you know that this is a very good and tasty recipe. I mixed my dough and I left it in the refrigerator overnight, The next day I let the dough stand for about thirty minutes before I shaped them. The dough did not came out wet, it was just right and manageable. I used blueberry instead of raisins and they were so delicious. I had two batches and I baked the first batch longer til golden brown and it came out a little bit drier but the second batch it came out softer because I didnt bake it longer. But overall bread was good and I will use this recipe again in so many ways


Jo_Jo_'s picture

I made these today, with a few changes.  I used half the shortening, used Splenda instead of sugar (in dough and cream cheese), but otherwise they were the same as the recipe above.  I used the white of the fourth egg as a wash on the dough, and used the yolk in the cream cheese filling.  Even with my changes, the finished snail were light and fluffy and sweet, and the filling was absolutely wonderful. My husband and I don't care for the sugar coated kind you get from the grocery store, so these ended up being a real special treat.  I made 13 rolls and figure they were only 200 calories each.


orange2007's picture

Hi I made it last weekend. The dough is wet and I added a little more flour but it turned out great. Thanks for the recipe.

Sugar Momma's picture
Sugar Momma

Hi FloydM,

I was wondering if I used bread flour would I need to adjust the amount of liquids? Could I make the cheese ones like the rasin??? Meaning, could I roll it up in a log & cut them & if so should I still flatten them out??? We have a church function on Fri night & I would like to make LOTS of both kind :)

Thank you & I just LOVE your site ~ AWESOME!!!!! :)

~Sugar Momma

Bartbart's picture

Made these yesterday and the day before, the second batch with Apricot preserves.  Absolutely fantastic.  Made as written the first batch, increased the sugar by one T for the second batch.  Again, absolutely fantastic.

Redhead Rose's picture
Redhead Rose

I just baked this recipe this morning and it turned out very beautiful and tasty and this was my first time baking home made sweet bread. I usually just make box cakes and I wanted to learn how to bake home made breads. This recipe is easy, all you need is patience for the rising of the dough...

joann1536's picture

...but I did this morning, and they are wonderful!  I made them with no substitutions, and they turned out looking just the way they do in the photos, and tasted so good.  These are really very easy to make, too.  I can see trying out a few substitutions for fun and maybe just a little variety.  Thanks for posting the recipe!

Hammiroo's picture

This is my 3rd attempt at making this.  I loved how simple the recipe is and so delicious. Learn a lot from reading the forum and all your comments. Will definitely be making this again and again. :)  Thank you.