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A Swiss is revolutionizing breakfast in the world

A Swiss is revolutionizing breakfast in the world



Bircher muesli in a Zurich restaurant


It was none other than the man who received the subsequent Nobel Prize for Literature, Thomas Mann, who in 1909 got inspiration for his sanatorium novel and world success “The Magic Mountain”, published 15 years later, on the Zürichberg in addition to improving his health. The sanatorium was called "Lebendige Kraft" and was run by the doctor Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner (1867-1939). Dr. Bircher-Benner was a pioneer in modern nutritional science. He advocated a form of nutrition based on plant-based foods, in which milk and dairy products are also allowed. As an advocate of raw food, he developed a nutritious but easily digestible meal for his hospital patients in 1902, which he called "d‘Spys", a dish made from oat flakes soaked in sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, grated apples and ground hazelnuts. In order to be able to grate the apples finely, he developed together with the Aargauer

Egloff & Co. an ingenious kitchen appliance in 1920: the Bircherraffel. The cult ruffle is still produced today and can be found in kitchens around the world.





Bircher raffle from the 1950s Swiss National Museum

Dr. Bircher-Benner classified his food as healing food, because: "... it mobilizes the self-healing powers in the body and stimulates the intestinal function ...". His patients loved «d‘ Spys ». Within a short period of time, “Doctor Bircher's Muesli” became popular in Switzerland. It found its way into German-speaking households from the 1950s. The Muesli of the Bircher, in Swiss German “am Bircher sis Müesli”, became a “Birchermüesli”. It was especially popular for dinner. To this day it is part of the range of cafes, pastry shops, take-aways, wholesalers and of course the hospitals in Switzerland.


Each family developed their own type of Bircher muesli. With the spread of fresh milk products in cities, condensed milk disappeared from households. The oatmeal was soaked in milk or yogurt. The apples were not only finely processed on the Bircher raffle, but also grated into fine strips on the Rösti raffle. The hazelnuts were joined by almonds and currants, finely chopped dried fruit, fresh fruit and berries. Such a Bircher muesli didn't need any sugar. Bircher muesli with cream was considered very chic. Today's Birchermüesli is no longer the rather meager health food from back then.


In Switzerland, a Bircher muesli was and still is a light lunch or dinner together with a slice of bread and butter. Outside of Switzerland, the idea of ​​Dr. Bircher-Benner is popular as a breakfast that is called “muesli” in Germany. New manufacturing processes for oat flakes made it possible to cut them ever thinner and soften them faster. The oatmeal began to be mixed with other natural, processed or sugared grain products. Over time, muesli also came to mean the dry mixture of cereals for the preparation of a kind of Bircher muesli. In the mid-1970s, ready-made muesli mixes hit the supermarket shelves. With the arrival of the breakfast buffet

in the hospitality industry, cereal mixes have spread all over the world. Although the contents of some containers contain what Dr. Bircher-Benner did not have much to do with, they still reflect his idea of ​​a healthy diet.

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