Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The virtues of Bircher muesli with vanilla-infused honey

At the risk of plumbing the depths of blogging banality, I decided to post a feature on bircher muesli: a breakfast cereal which originated at the start of the 20th century when Swiss physician Dr Maximillian Bircher-Benner advocated soaking oats and grated apple with a teaspoon of lemon juice in lots of condensed milk, then eating it the next day. If the thought of condensed milk with your breakfast cereal makes you feel a little nauseous, then remember these were the days before dairy pasteurization was widespread, and fresh milk carried rather severe health risks such as tubercolosis...

Anyway, bircher muesli is my summertime breakfast favourite, a welcome ersatz for winter's oatmeal porridge. Plenty of other people have written extensively about the health benefits of oats: a source of slow-releasing energy seemingly capable of preventing all sorts of illnesses from diabetes to cancer. Be that as it may, I just love the taste of oats, so if you're a breakfast fiend like me, try this muesli during warmer summer months - not only is it full of fibre, but the soaked oats are more digestible so you're not left with a bloated belly after breakfast. 

Make sure you use large, rolled oats though, not the quick-cooking kind for instant porridge which will turn into a unpalatable, gloopy mush! Some people like to use apple juice to soak their oats, others use yoghurt or plain old milk - in Germany I had bircher muesli soaked in cream, a decadent treat, but perhaps too filling early in the morning. The best way I've found is to follow this simple formula: rolled oats, grated apple, and milk. This is your bircher base, and then you can top it with fruity things such as summer berries, bananas, nuts such as almonds or walnuts, and seeds such as linseeds, sesame seeds, etc

Makes 5 servings (weekends are reserved for pancakes, waffles and other brunch treats!)
  • 225g oats (ca. 3 tbsp oats per day)
  • 2 grated granny smiths (or similarly tart apples)
  • enough milk to cover
Place the oats and grated apple in a large bowl or tupperware container, stir through with a spoon, and then cover with milk. The oats will swell during the night, so make sure you don't fill the bowl/container all the way to the top! Cover with clingfilm

In the morning, take your portion out and top with whatever you have available. This morning I used a dollop of plain bio yoghurt, some rather crimson-coloured strawberries and a few squirts of my favourite sweet treat: acacia honey infused with the seeds (and pod) of half a vanilla pod, the perfect foil for nutty oats and slightly tart grated granny smiths...breakfast bliss!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Definitely going to try this one. I need a good 'Ersatz' for my plain, hot porridge kick I have been on for a while.