Here is the original Swiss recipe for bircher muesli that was developed around the turn of the last century by Swiss physician Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner.
Bircher went against the accepted medical practice of the time of thoroughly cooking food, which was thought to be healthier, and introduced a small bowlful of rolled oats and raw apple as an appetizer before most meals.
The original recipe is a tasty combination when made this way, although our idea of what muesli is has changed over the years to contain less fruit and more grain.
These days, people like to add more sugar, cream, and dried fruits, as well as start with a larger portion of oats than what was first published.
It is interesting to note that this original recipe now reflects modern food pyramid recommendations.
This breakfast is gluten-free if made with certified gluten-free oats. Always check your labels.
This recipe makes 1 serving and easily can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled to accommodate your family.
- 1 tablespoon rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 large apple (grated with the skin)
- 6 raw hazelnuts (or almonds, chopped)
- In a small bowl or mug, mix the oats and water and let them soften overnight in the refrigerator. If you're in a hurry, oats do not need to be soaked for hours to make them digestible, although other grains do.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir. Evaporated milk, cream or regular milk can be substituted. You can add 2 teaspoons of sugar to regular milk, or try honey, agave nectar or stevia if you would like to avoid sugar.
- Mix grated apple with lemon juice and then add it to the oat mixture. Sprinkle with raw chopped almonds or hazelnuts and serve.
People add many other things to this mixture and even serve mix-your-own muesli for breakfast with containers of seeds, grains and dried fruit set out on the table or buffet.
This negates Bircher's idea of a low-calorie, high-energy pre-meal filler, but it tastes good. Additions can be made as follows (or create your own):
- Add a grated carrot, a sliced banana and orange sections to your oats.
- Soften raisins with the oats.
- Add flax, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, other rolled grains, yogurt, dickmilch (sour milk/buttermilk), quark or maple syrup to your bowl.
- Toast the grains before using in your milk.
- Make a granola mixture and serve with milk or yogurt and fruit.
- Add flavorings such as cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla sugar or powder.
Updated by Lora Wiley-Lennartz