Next generation Bircher Müesli
March 2nd, 2006

Here is Dagi’s yummy recipe from the Bob Ross Sunday brunch. Besides all the other wonderful food at our friends’ place, I was completely hooked on her delicious creation. I was having a second, third, fourth and fifth helping – yep, that was me. I was trying to be sly about it, but I’m sure I didn’t pull it of completely unnoticed. Hm, am I embarrassed about it? Nope, not a bit – it was THAT GOOD. Now, whether it’s spelled Müesli, Müsli or Muesli, the fundamental idea is the same: A freshly prepared mixture that includes rolled oats (preferably the finer ones) that have been soaked in water or fruit juice and grated or chopped fresh fruit. While the traditional Swiss Bircher Müesli typically goes with finely grated or blended apple, any other fruit should work just as well. You can be as creative as you allow your imagination to be, adding other dairy products or spices to the mix.

Bircher Müesli

The list of added benefits is long and stems from the fact that the Muesli was originally invented in 1900 by Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital. The term is a Swiss German diminutive of the German word “Mus”, a semi-liquid made from raw or cooked fruit that could roughly be translated to mush, paste, compote or the French purée. So what’s good about it? No additional sugar is being used, fresh fruits instead, oat products have been shown to help lower high blood cholesterol concentration, nuts, which are associated with many health benefits and of course yogurt, a rich source of calcium and protein. Sounds mighty healthy to me!

Sugar Substitute

So there is THE Bircher Müsli and then there is the family of Bircher Müeslis, to which this one here belongs to. But I doubt that without the extended list of ingredients it would be as delish as it is. For the sweetness we blended dried fruits to a paste and kept it in an airtight container (not the one shown above ;) for future use. Part of it we used immediately for a basic sweetness and the rest we put on the table to cover individual needs.

The method is pretty straight forward, but entails a longer “idle time” of 12hours (soaking time). To speed up the soaking process, gently warming up the oat mix helps and although O. prefers it this way, I rather hold out and do without any additional cooking. In the recipe you won’t find explicit amounts, as it’s so dependent on your own personal preferences and besides, it is a great dish to experiment with. To serve as a rough guideline, the ratio of the main ingredients used here was (in volume parts): soaked oats (2) – sweet fruit puree (1)- nuts (1)- fruits (3) – yoghurt (4).

Preparing the oats: Soak them for about 12 hours in water (I tried milk as well and liked it even better), this step is best prepared in advance, basically a day before. As I used frozen raspberries, I also put those out of the freezer to let them defrost over night.

Be sweet: To sweeten the Muesli I produced a sugar substitute using a blender (or such) to combine an equal amount of dried fruit (I used a mixture of figs, raisins and dates) with water (e.g. one cup of mixed fruit with one cup of water). Any leftovers of this fruit puree can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for several days.

Let’s get nuts: Lacking hazelnuts, I substituted D’s recommended nuts with coarsely ground walnuts and almonds. To enhance the flavor I suggest to first roast them for a few minutes ’till they turn slightly golden, then chop/grind them.

Fruity: I mashed some ripe bananas and – following D’s tip for a nice pink color – added raspberries (defrosted, since fresh ones are totally overpriced and rarely tasty at the moment).

Mix and taste: Use a large bowl to mix all of the above described ingredients together with the yogurt of your choice, again, feel free to adapt the amounts to taste, add some maple syrup or honey on top for a finishing touch. Decorate with a generous dollop of yogurt, some nuts and/or fruits and enjoy!

Keeps ready-made for some days in the fridge. ‘Can think of countless variations…oh and for completeness: in case you want to try out the original recipe.

Bircher Müesli - What's in it...

Deconstructed Müesli (just to show what’s inside). Bircher-Brenner’s, charming but not very scientific I might add, theory about “Sunlight-Food“, which encompasses the general notion of returning to a life in harmony with nature, was based on the worldly wisdoms of his ancestors – his Müesli was one of the keystones of his nutrition philosophy.

Bircher Müesli variation

Recipe source: Dagmar, slightly adapted

Prep time: 15min. (plus 12 hours soaking)

.

Ingredients (amounts depend on your personal preferences, a rough guidline is provided in the above steps):

raw oats (the finer type)

water or milk to soak the oats

.

dried figs

dried dates ("stoned" edit: they're happy dates, but also pitted!)

raisins

water (amount equals amount of dried fruit, in vol. parts)

.

walnuts and almonds, roasted & ground

.

bananas, mashed

raspberries or other seasonal fruits

.

plain yogurt (Greek or other)

honey or maple syrup to taste

Comments

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2006

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