You may know versions of it as ‘musli ‘, but this cereal based dish has its roots firmly planted in Switzerland. Dr. Bircher decided, at a time when everything was cooked due to germs, that there were benefits to real and raw foods.
Per my research, for those who care to dive a bit deeper: Dr. Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner (or in german) (August 22, 1867, Aarau – January 24, 1939) was a Swiss physician and a pioneer in nutritional research. At his sanatorium in Zürich, a balanced diet of raw vegetables and fruit was used as a means to heal patients, contrary to the beliefs commonly held at the end of the 19th century.
Bircher-Benner changed the eating habits of the late 19th century. He believed eating raw and whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts was healthier than cooked, he also rejected the use of refined products such as white flour and white sugar. His ideas may not all have been correct, he believed solar energy stored in food (in a not strictly defined or explained way) was what made them better and not the quantity or quality of nutrients. His theory of life was based on harmony between people and nature. Some of his ideas originated from observing the daily life of shepherds in the Swiss Alps, who lived a simple and healthy life.
By now this recipe has as many variations as there are days in a week, multiplied by the number of people in Switzerland (my Dad says we Swiss people are born with the Bircher Müesli recipe attached to the umbilical cord 😉 this is my basic recipe and it’s variations.
Walking though the aisles in a grocery store, you will find commercially made musli mixes, including everything from dried fruit to chocolate chips. This is the commercially available basic Swiss version I found at the store the other day!
It’s quite a popular food these days, it seems to me. But here I am taking you back to the roots, the origins of where this all came from. (using my important voice)
And let’s face it, why waste money on prepackaged stuff when you can make a better and healthier-for-you version easily at home? No cooking required and easy to make, this recipe is very versatile and adapts through the seasons depending on your fridge or gardens content of fruits and berries.
A great summer meal, I love it anytime of day, but in Switzerland, it is not considered a breakfast food. It is eaten as alight lunch or dinner with a buttered slice of crusty bread. (We love our bread) …And sometimes some whipped cream on top…
I always put it up to my Dad being a foreigner, him never being super exited about Bircher Müesli, but now I am wondering if it is a guy thing. Let me explain. The other morning over breakfast, Nelson kept talking about ‘having some ‘Beatle Music’ and pssssshhhh totally over my ehad. Well, I figured it out Beatle Music = Bircher Müesli, hahaha. Of course I thought he meant ‘beetle music’ and was utterly confused, imagining a line of beetles tapping their little feet (or legs?) rhythmically, so sadly I was left with the impression that maybe he did not like my ‘Beatle Music’ turns out he does, it’s after all juts a better version of oatmeal, cold and with fruit!
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup rolled wheat, barley, millet, and/or rye flakes (you can use all oats instead)
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 2 cups milk
- 1 yogurt (optional)
- 1 apple
- 1 banana
- 1 1/2 cup mixed fruits and berries (plums, peaches, apples, pears, oranges, grapes, strawberries or even frozen blueberries, the possibilities are endless)
optional: you can also add chopped roasted hazelnuts, pieces of dried fruit or banana)
- In a large bowl, combine the cereal flakes (or just the rolled oats), raisins, almonds and hazelnuts and 1 1/2 cups of the milk.
- Grate an apple on the large holes of a grater, stir to combine.
- Cover and let stand 1 hour or until the oats are softened.
- Slice the banana, chop the peach and the berries (used in the picture are peach, plum, strawberry, banana and apple) or whatever other fruit you have on hand.
- Uncover the bowl, stir in the yogurt (if using) and the rest of the milk (You can add more if it looks dry) then add all the fruit, gently mix so one person doesn’t get all the fruit and serve.
- Store any leftovers in the fridge and eat within 2 or 3 days
© 2012 SimpleHealthyHomemade