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RECIPE: Bircher Muesli

Muesli was invented by a Swiss physician at the end of the 19th century named Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner. It was a recipe (now known as Bircher muesli) designed as a healthy meal for his patients to eat in his sanitarium. But it was very different to the muesli we eat today. For starters he insisted on soaking all the grains and nuts in his food (what later became known as ‘activating’).

In fact it could be argued that Bircher-Benner was years ahead of his time and could even be called the father of the raw food movement. His famous Bircher muesli recipe consisted of oats soaked in lemon juice and served with grated apple and condensed milk and topped with activated almonds and activated walnuts.

This recipe for Bircher muesli sticks to the traditional way that the Swiss physician wanted it eaten but makes (at least in my view) a few improvements. You see Dr Bircher-Benner actually intended for his muesli to be served with fresh cream. But due to the lack of pasteurization and the risk of things like Listeria etc he had to use condensed milk to be on the safe side back in the day – but this is no longer necessary.

Now of course we don’t have these problems and now know that yoghurt is very healthy and an absolutely delicious breakfast food. So this recipe for Bircher muesli – which was handed down to me from my mother – has yoghurt instead of cream or condensed milk and uses honey to counterbalance the sourness. It is an absolutely amazingly addictive mix of sweet and sour and is extremely easy to eat.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 150g oats* or muesli

I use oats and then add activated superfood scroggin, but you can add your own mix of nuts and dried fruit.  Activated almonds, goji berries, sour cherries, activated pecans or any mix of nuts and dried fruit.

*oats are gluten free, but are usually grown and processed along with wheat. If you want 100% gluten free oats you will have to buy ones that have been produced by a farm that specialises in gluten free oats.

  • 1 large apple grated
  • 1-2 lemons juiced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 150g yoghurt
  • 50ml hot water

You can actually be very heavy handed with the mix of lemon juice and honey. Mix them together first to make sure you get a good sweet sour balance – and don’t be shy of adding 2, 3, 4 times the amount of these ingredients if you want a real flavour kick!

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Method:

In a large bowl add the oats, activated nuts, seeds, dried fruit and grated apple. Add in the lemon juice. It is important to mention that the measurements for lemon and honey in this recipe are general – you need to add enough lemon vs honey to achieve the perfect balanced of sweet sour. This will differ with the kinds of lemon you are using. So be prepared to tweak this recipe a lot. You cannot really add too much lemon as you can always add more honey. This will only improve the flavour.

In a separate cup add the honey and hot water and stir in the honey to melt it. Then pour the melted honey and yoghurt over the oats and apple. Mix all together. Taste again to check that the balance of flavour is correct because the yoghurt is also sour. Add more yoghurt, lemon or honey to change the balance to suit you.

You can make this the night before if you wish. This dish actually taste better if it has had some time to sit.

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