bircher muesli

i’ve been on a bit of a muesli binge the last couple of days. can’t tell whether it’s the lure of plump, soft oats (i LOVE oats) or the pleasure of having some good fresh fruit after days of nutella and bread but i’m loving a big, white bowlful, all to myself (greedy, eh?).

a good bircher muesli is a beautiful thing. i don’t think it is switzerland’s national dish, but perhaps it should be, because it is so ubiquitous – you can find it anywhere. i really got a taste for it when i was in hospital after having lola. i always chose it for breakfast, and it would arrive in a glass bowl, fresh-fruity, yoghurty and with a cup of tea. it was all i needed to keep me going until lunch time. any other breakfast, be it gipfelis (crosissants), bread, jams etc etc always left my stomach grumbling an hour later. for some reason i have a super-fast metabolism in the morning and this was the only thing that made the grade. oh, how i have searched over the years to find something which keeps me going until lunch time….. cos when i get hungry, i get really, really GRUMPY. and IRRITABLE. and HORRIBLE (just ask max and bruno, and oh, just about every other person who has had the misfortune to face me in the morning). so you understand how imperative it has been to find this one crucial meal, and how delighted i was to find that THIS IS THE ONE THAT WORKS FOR ME. hooray!

bircher (beer-cher, not birch, as in tree) muesli was developed by dr. maximilian brenner-bircher at his diet clinic/sanitorium somewhere in switzerland in 1887 and named ‘bircher muesli’ in 1924. there are lots of versions around, including ones with all sorts of creamy additions which i’m sure dr. bircher would never have approved of. the original recipe involved just a tablespoon of oats and a grated apple, but it has since evolved to something a little more fulfilling (thank goodness i’m not a purist when it comes to bircher muesli). here is a rough guide to a good morning bircher muesli to get you going and keep you going:

bircher muesli

oats – whatever size or cut you fancy. purists would plump for rolled rather than steel-cut but phooey. can also use other grains such as barley or whatever. there used to be a 5-grain mix at macro wholefoods in sydney i used to get.
apple juice or milk (milk gives you a milder muesli)
lemon juice (if you aren’t using milk)
yoghurt – plain or flavoured. i used to look down on flavoured yoghurts with haughty disdain, but i have since been won over to the dark side since being confronted with so many delicious flavours here in CH (my faves: belle hélène, fig + orange, rhubarb + vanilla, peach melba, hazelnut). also because i couldn’t find a good thick greek-style natural yoghurt.
an apple, grated
other fresh fruit -whatever you have on hand, is in season, and is ripe. berries are excellent, so are bananas, pears, nectarines, plums, peaches, blueberries, even apples (chopped, in addition to the grated).
maybe some dried fruit, esp. figs (these are VERY good) or apricots
also nuts, if you like

– soak oats/other grains in apple juice + a few squeezes of lemon juice, or milk overnight, or at least for an hour or so (the oats are softer and more digestible when plumpened with some apple juice or milk). don’t put too much liquid in, just enough to make it quite moist. then cover and leave. i cover the bowl with a plate and bung it in the fridge, but you can leave it out if it’s not too hot (perhaps not if you are using milk tho).

– next morning, take out the bowl and stir it all up. add grated apple (we have a spiffy special glass apple grater, kind of like a ginger grater). stir.

– add yoghurt. i like mine to be just on the stiff side of sloppy (does that make sense?!).

– add fruit and/or chopped nuts. don’t stir too much for the soft fruits, you don’t want them to dissolve!

– sometimes i also add some ground unhulled almonds or hazelnuts, for extra ooomph.

– mix.

– eat. with coooooffeeeeee. or a cup of hot tea (in a white cup, if you please. it just tastes better).

– doesn’t that taste good? and i bet you won’t feel those pesky hunger pangs for hours and hours and hours!


24 thoughts on “bircher muesli

  1. So good to have you back! I will be trying this museli — sounds fantastic. Like you, I need a sound tummy filler in the morning. I’m thinking Oscar will love this recipe too.
    We love porridge (OATS!!) and Oscar is great at poached eggs (called ‘eggy dip dip’ in our house).
    Oscar is with you on the white cups for a cup of tea. Coffee is black in our house and served in those big bowl-like cups.

  2. forgot to say how divine the yoghurt sounds. certainly nothing like that in my supermarket!
    fig and orange! pear and chocolate! rhubarb and vanilla! taste sensations, i say.
    must check out what is available at prahran market next time i go…

  3. for the aussies i’d highly recommend Elgaar Farm yoghurt, which can be bought from Organic Gertrude and the cheese and butter people on the corner of the deli section at the vic market in Melbourne.
    this yoghurt is incredibly creamy and good – tastes like it should be a super high fat greek style – but it is only that it’s from such contented Tasmanian cows and has no skim milk powders or nasties added.
    Not even very pricey – $4 for 500g and OH MY GOD is it good.

  4. I have looked everywhere for an ‘apple grater’ but cannot find one. Do you have a link I could go to and order one or something I could use as a substitute?

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  6. I was introduced to Bircher Muesli when I stayed at Rydges in Canberra and now I cant get enough of it. I have been trying to find a few recipes but i think its goes down to personal taste. I just use 2 cups of oats and 2 cups of (lite) vanilla yoghurt and half a cup of apple juice, then i chuck a whole bunch of fruit in (sultanas, tinned peaches and grated apple) and LOTS of honey. i mix it all in and leave it all overnight and in the morning i just eat it outta the huge bowl!! it lasts me a week and its just delish.
    i too need a good solid breakfast. i hate getting grumbly at 10.30am. bircher is VERY filling.
    yeh thats all from me 🙂

  7. Hey CH Erie.
    I thought there were about 4 trillion web pages on earth…it is a small world, I typed in Bircher Muesli and you came up as #1 on Google! I just made some bircher muesli tonight cause Eoghan and I had some the other day at Jed’s in Bondi, after a great sauna and swim at Icebergs. I have been riding my bike over there at 6am, and we pretty much have the view and the pool and the sauna to ourselves! Anyway we had the muesli there, which was really soft and not so sweet. We were ruminating that it might be made with milk, so I came on here to find out. What you say is what we thought. I wish we had some of that great yoghurt swissy style down here, about the closest we get to CH is Swiss Maid Tip Top! Good on ya mum!
    What about Beercher Muesli, where you marinate it overnight in Coopers Pale! Mmm…Homer’s breakfast.

  8. wow, so glad I found your site. I have been wanting to get a good home made recipe for bircher muesli and yours sounds great….and you are an ex qlder! You must be alright. Thanks..I will give this a go and when I have some more time, I’ll have a further look at your lovely blog!

  9. i just returned from holiday in australia and discovered the most wonderful bircher muesli at the galleon in st. kilda… i’m so pleased to have found this recipe, as it is the only thing i’m craving in my jetlagged state!

  10. me too I am craving bircher museli and just googled this recipe – fantastic. what a great blog. I will come back after i have soaked my oats! thanks x

  11. I recently stayed at the Hilton in Perth and have been converted to Bircher Museli, the best ever brekkie! Just felt like something different for a change and so glad that I did. Thank you for the recipe I will give it a go. I definately recommend the Hilton’s Bircher. Is it addictive!!!!!

  12. I have a really naive question. I want to bring a gift to someone in India. He likes Bircher Museli. Where do I buy it. Is it just any brand of Museli with certain things added to it? I have yet to find the actually brand “Bircher” in any of the co-ops or grocery stores. Help! I need to shop today or tomorrow for my trip!!

  13. Hi Judy, you are probably on a plane to India but I’ll tell you anyway – the original bircher muesli was just a few tablespoons of oats mixed with a grated apple, but it has morphed into a many different things now. Usually here in Switzerland it is sold as soaked oats (in apple juice) mixed with a generous amount of yoghurt and fresh fruit. But it is also sold as a dry mix of oats and various typed of dried fruits, to which you can add milk or yoghurt or whatever, just like a normal muesli mix. I suppose it should at least have apple in it, if you are looking for a dried one. Or perhaps you could make your friend a fresh one when you get there, with oats, grated apple and yoghurt etc?

  14. Became addicted to Bircher on a recent trip to Melbourne and it is all I want for breakfast since returning home. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be a thing that NZ cafes do (as I sadly discovered this morning when delivered an enormous bowl of dried boring muesli – yawn). So I’m off to make my own, thanks for the post.

  15. Wow, how fantastic to read the recipe and all the wonderful responses. I got hooked on Bircher Muesli on a recent holiday to Norfolk Island. Every morning for breakfast I would get myself a heaped bowlful, it was delicious. I missed it so much but couldn’t remember what it was called until last night at the Supermarket I found a packet of Bircher Muesli in the health food isle. So I just had to Google it once I found out what it was called. I will definitely be giving it try, certainly sounds easy and especially YUMMY! Thanks!

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