I’ve never been a huge breakfast person. Most mornings, give me a cup of tea or a mug of coffee and I’m set for the next few hours. But lately I’ve been coming around. And I blame it all on bircher muesli.
Bircher muesli seems to be on the menu of everyone of the millions of cafes in Sydney, but besides further proof of the monotony of cafe menus here, I found no significance in it whatsoever. I mean, muesli? Really? We’re not living in the Alps. And how old are we anyway? And why is there no homemade granola anywhere? Wait, scratch that. I don’t even like granola unless I’m hiking, in Vermont or both. Wai wai wait, I don’t even like breakfast. Why do I care?
The thing is, this muesli isn’t the dry, flavorless muesli I was thinking of at all. Instead, it’s rolled oats soaked in apple juice and mixed with whatever else – from shredded coconut and sunflower seeds to raisins and almonds – your heart desires and paired with milk or, more commonly, Greek yogurt. Still not convinced it’s better than Cap’n Crunch?
Me neither. But hear me out.
Bircher muesli is both hearty and refreshing and when your left eye is still partially glued shut from sleep, it’s as easy to prepare as pulling a container out of the fridge. Not as sweet and cloying as granola (and far easier to make at home, if that’s your bag), it’s also a ridiculously inexpensive breakfast option (last time I checked rolled oats cost less than flour). Another plus: bircher muesli is extremely healthy. And though that isn’t always our main focus here at the shortlist, we do know how important (and difficult) it is to eat enough whole grains and fibers and avoid packaged, processed foods. And you don’t even need to add sugar or sweeteners. Though I sometimes (cough, almost always) add maple syrup to mine, it’s totally unnecessary as the apple juice naturally and pleasantly sweetens the oats.
And the oats…they have softened considerably, but are a far cry from your mushy hot oatmeal or cream of wheat. They’re plump and perky and, I think, the only reason to get out of bed in the morning. Or, in my case, the only reason to consider breakfast at all.
I’ll give you the approximate measurements for the simplest version of Bircher muesli; feel free to add raisins, nuts, seeds, chopped dried fruit or even spices to the mix. You can even substitute milk or orange juice for the apple juice if you prefer. Bircher muesli is best served with a heaping spoonful or two of good quality Greek style yogurt which you mix in just before eating. Store your uneaten muesli in a Tupperware container in the fridge until it’s all used up. Serves 4 (can be double or tripled or halved).
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup good quality apple juice
In a Tupperware container, mix the oats and apple juice well. If it looks like there’s a bit too much juice, that’s ok, the oats will soak it up. Mix in any extras you want (see below). Cover and store in the fridge overnight (or at least 8 hours).
Spoon into a bowl and top with a big dollop of good quality yogurt (we’ve been using homemade) and whatever toppings you like. Mix it all up and enjoy!
raisins, dried cranberries or any other dried fruit
diced apple, pear, banana or berries