A Break From Granola: Why Muesli Rules

2011_1_7-shelbymuseli04_rect540 (1).jpg If granola and yogurt is your morning speed, chances are you've come across muesli at some point. While many of the ingredients are the same, muesli, the Swiss cousin of granola, is different. So if you like granola, why mess with your routine? What's the big deal with muesli?

As some of you already know, I own a granola business here in Seattle, Marge Granola. I often travel around and do tastings, and a few weeks ago a wonderful Swiss couple come to my table and stared down my little sample cups of granola in disbelief. They sniffed it, they spoke back and forth between themselves, the husband took a photo with his iPhone. I eventually realized they didn't know what granola was, so I explained the components and how it's made. Their conclusion: You burned muesli! Why would you add maple syrup and fat to muesli?!

Muesli is unbaked so it doesn't contain sweetener or oil. People enjoy it like they do granola (served with milk or sprinkled over yogurt) or they soak it overnight to create a cool, porridge-like consistency that's particularly nice in the warmer-weather months.

Muesli isn't as common as granola in the US, and it can be a bit of an acquired taste. When I teach whole-grain baking classes, students are often confused: "So we eat it just like this? Raw?" An even harder sell, I find, is soaking the muesli overnight. (I like it, but I recognize that not everyone does, and of course that's okay!)

But the Swiss couple I met was onto something. While for (obvious) business reasons I want folks to buy granola left and right, it is nice to step away from the slightly-sweetened baked cereal to enjoy the pure flavor of oats, seeds, nuts and fruits. When you do, you begin to taste them more, and appreciate their distinctness and how they all compliment one another. The 'whoa, I'm eating raw oats' feeling goes away pretty quickly. Soaking the muesli overnight is said to be more nutritious and easier to digest. If you're low on time, you can even soak it for just 30 minutes and still experience the oats softening nicely into the milk, nut milk, apple juice or thinned-yogurt (use whichever you like).

I find that muesli is a nice reset button when I get into a breakfast rut. Plus, for those of you on tight weekday schedules, there's nothing quicker than muesli. No baking or fussing required, and if you like soaking it, you can toss it together the night before.

Do you eat muesli at home? How do you like to serve it?

A Few Recipes to Try:
Toasted Oat and Coconut Muesli - Joy the Baker
Bircher Muesli with Spiced Strawberry Sauce - My New Roots
Apple Muesli with Gogi Berries - Food and Wine
Honey-Toasted Fruit Muesli - 101 Cookbooks

Related: To Soak or Not to Soak: How Do You Enjoy Your Muesli?

(Image: Leela Cyd Ross)

8 Comments