Muesli as You’ve Never Known It Before

by Jane Wangersky | May 29th, 2014 | Recipes

muesli pdAs we get toward the end of Breakfast Month, I’m bringing you something different from the somewhat rich stuff I’ve been writing about up till now. No eggs this week, nothing fried, in fact nothing in this recipe is cooked at all, not even the oatmeal.

What kind of dish uses raw oatmeal? Muesli — at least in its original form. Most of us know muesli as a dry cereal much like granola, but the original recipe was very different. Developed around 1900 in Switzerland by Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner for his patients, it was based on a dish the doctor had eaten in the Alps and called for cream, lemon juice, oats, and an apple. Changes to the recipe seemingly began right away as the hospital started using sweetened condensed milk instead of cream.

Looking at the recipe over 100 years later, I made my own adjustments. After all, if you leave lemon juice and cream mixed together overnight, what do you get? Plain yogurt comes close enough. Also, we’re fortunate today to have quick oats, which don’t need soaking to be edible.

The oats are the smallest part of the recipe; a serving of muesli uses only a quarter of the amount I usually use for a small bowl of oatmeal. The fresh fruit and protein are the main part of this dish.


Muesli as You’ve Never Known It Before


  1. 1 tablespoon QUICK oatmeal
  2. 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  3. 1 apple (Granny Smiths are good)
  1. Stir the oats and yogurt together with a fork.
  2. Peel the apple (if you don’t, it’ll turn mushy) and shred it with a cheese grater.
  3. Mix with the yogurt and oats.
  4. I tried a variation with two large strawberries, but strangely enough it didn’t taste so sweet as the green apple version.
  5. Possibly there was some reaction between the yogurt and the acid in the berries.
  6. Anyway, you can experiment with different kinds of fresh or even dried fruit.
  7. As you can see, the muesli in the photo is topped with raspberries; it also contains apples, bananas, raisins, and more.
Think Tasty


The raw oats are really not hard to eat; they reminded me of bran sprinkled on yogurt. It’s such a small amount you almost don’t notice them.

If this isn’t your idea of a filling breakfast, try it as a late night snack — oatmeal’s supposed to have a calming effect.

One last note — even having once lived in Germany, I don’t know the right pronunciation of muesli, or even whether there is one. The “local nationals” never seemed to pronounce words the way my English-German dictionary said they should. What I can tell you is that the word means something close to ” “purée”, though it isn’t really. Wikipedia says Dr. Bircher-Benner called it just “the dish”. Whatever you call it, homemade muesli is worth a try.

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