Affectionately called “B Stuff" by my friends
Bircher Muesli has always been one of my favorite foods. Rose and I eat Bircher Muesli almost every Sabbath morning when we are home. When we are home, we usually invite others to join us for breakfast. Bircher is almost always on the menu—along with homemade bread and sweet breads—banana bread is often the special bread, and is very appreciated. Growing up in my family of origin, we ate Bircher Muesli for breakfast or supper. For Rose and I, if there is any leftover from our Sabbath breakfast, I will eat it for supper too.
Bircher Muesli is a great Sabbath dish, in that you prepare it Friday afternoon, leave it in the refrigerator over night, and eat it cold Sabbath morning. Accordingly there is no work involved during the Sabbath hours.
It was originally developed by Dr. Maximilian Brenner-Bircher (pronounced beerch-shair) at his diet clinic/sanitarium in Switzerland in 1887 and named 'Bircher Muesli' in 1924. The original recipe called for oats and grated apples. Bircher-Benner himself referred to the dish simply as "d'Spys" (Swiss German for "the dish", in German "die Speise").
There are many varieties of Bircher Muesli. In Switzerland the main fruit is sometimes grated apple similar to the originator of the recipe. This recipe on this page reflects the abundant fruit that grows near me in Southwest Michigan, including strawberries, blueberries, red and black raspberries, peaches, apples, etc. Cherries and apricots also grow in the area but are rarely used, the first due to possible pits, the latter not keeping its shape.
Old Fashion Rolled Oats (amount varies, but 1/2 cup of dry oats per person usually).
Soy Milk (I use organic Soy milk from Aldi)
Sweetener of choice
1. Make the Oat/Milk Mix 1C soy milk (I use organic soy milk from Aldi) / ½ C of rolled oats / person eating. Add some sweetener (your choice…sugar, honey, etc.).
2. Soak Ahead of Time Let this mixture soak for a couple of hours ahead of time in the refrigerator so that the oats can soften in the soy milk (some people say to let it soak over night)
3. Add Fruit Add fruit at least ½ hour ahead of time so that the flavors can combine some. Favorites fruits include: strawberries, red raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, apples (cut up small), peaches, etc.. I prefer to cut up the apple in small pieces regardless off the original directions to grate the apple. Some people also add nuts figs, etc, but these are available to be added at the time of eating the Bircher Muesli.
Bircher Muesli is served cold. Many will add somewhat thawed berries close to the time that it is served so that that the fruit will still have a slightly crunchy texture. Some people like to add bananas to the mix. It is better to serve the banana on the side since it will turn brown in the mix during the night. Nuts are sometimes added on the side as well.
Bircher Muesli is delicious. I only know a handful of individuals who have not enjoyed my particular recipe. It is also popular with Rose because it can be made up Friday afternoon before the Sabbath, and served cold Sabbath morning, minimizing the amount of work done during the Sabbath hours. You can also make small quantities or large quantities with equal time and effort. It is a great alternative when your kids have invited all their friends home for a meal after church, and they decide to stay for supper too.
This was a favorite food in my house growing up and was served for supper (as they do in Switzerland at my relatives' homes sometimes). For a time, when a small group was meeting in my home, I made "B stuff—massive amounts of "B stuff"—every week, and it was completely consumed every time. In fact, when I failed to make sufficient quantities, there was a collective sense of disappointment that lingered throughout the meal. On one occasion I invited an older couple over and served them Bircher Muesli. The wife warned me that her husband was a very picky eater and probably would not eat it. Well, not only was he was willing to try a little, soon he was eating down bowl after bowl of it.