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Grain power – or what is the perfect muesli?

More and more people are developing an interest in muesli.  The many products available in supermarkets reflect this fact. There is a trend towards individualization that has already existed for a long time: the customer doesn’t want to renounce his or her favorite ingredients. Bakers and caterers experience this as well – they want to set themselves apart from the supermarkets with their products. Creativity is necessary to achieve that.

Max Bircher-Benner was the first to succeed in this respect. The Swiss physician and anthroposophist created the foundation for countless muesli variations with his “bircher muesli”. Bircher only used oats and apples for his composition, but nowadays the possibilities are almost endless. And the standards for a good and healthy breakfast cereal have increased. There are a couple of aspects that shouldn’t be neglected when you choose the raw materials for a perfect muesli, though.

First of all, we should clarify what healthy muesli is. Probably not necessarily the kind of muesli you would get from the supermarket. Especially finished mixtures don’t always deliver what they promise. They are often loaded with calories due to their high sugar content. However, there are also better alternatives. It would be favorable for every food manufacturer to have some kind of house muesli on display or on the menu. Bakers and caterers everywhere are trying to find a balance between self-made and factory-made mixtures. Because that’s the thing about muesli: it should be healthy. And it should make you feel good. It should also taste good, of course. So if you want to offer your customers imaginative, honest and healthy products, then you have to manufacture them yourself.
Healthy ingredients lead to better results. Everything starts with the selection of the grain and ends with the addition of dried fruits. And if you also know how to replace “regular sugar” in a way that makes sense, so the customers get the sweet taste that they often want, then you have something special. Using these ingredients moderately is important as well.
With a deliberate recipe development and knowledge about the ingredients, it’s not difficult to design exactly the muesli that many customers like to eat. That will surely be more balanced and healthy than what you find in the supermarket. And it’s also nice to look at, if it comes in a beautiful package.

You can always find basic recipes that many people like. It’s important to use whole grain, because the marginalized layer and the germ bud contain really healthy things. Nuts are also essential – whether roasted, chopped or julienne. They provide pure energy, keep you fit and have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and the blood fat regulation. Dry fruits can be an additional foundation for muesli, and you should also consider allergy sufferers. But don’t overdo it! Because by not using the special taste of, for example, nuts, you’re rather lowering the quality of your own muesli.

What’s important when you’re creating a healthy muesli mixture 

Using whole grain: The marginalized layer and the germ bud of whole grains contain a lot of good things for your health.

Using fiber: They satiate for a long time and regulate digestion. There are many sources of fiber available, but the most important ones are chia seeds, psyllium and flax seeds.

Integrating valuable protein: Protein satiates for a long time. Grains contain a lot of it, but soy or lupines contain even more.

Not forgetting nuts: They are best when roasted and provide unsaturated fatty acids, fiber and vitamins, thus being indispensable for optimal muesli.

Providing the little extras: If it tastes really good, then it also makes you feel good. So “a little sin” is allowed.  Furthermore it can also be praised commercially.

If you bear these fundamentals in mind, then you will get a good base mixture from different ingredients. You can now present this mixture in a pretty package in the shop (please test the shelf life properly and use a pretty label. Hermetically sealed, so that your product will be good for a couple of weeks). It will do at least as well in the breakfast buffet or takeaway cup.


Muesli, Granola, Overnight Oats

The muesli of today is also called granola or overnight oats. These two variations are currently experience a renaissance. The compositions of fruits, flakes, grains and endless other ingredients also provide energy and are becoming increasingly popular in all their variations.

What is granola?
Granola is a muesli variation that was developed in the USA. Granola is a typically American product. But it’s still healthy. The foundation is a mixture of flakes and seeds. Natural raw materials are also the priority here. The ingredients are carefully roasted, for example, with honey or maple syrup as well as with vegetable oil or butter on a baking tray in the oven, without destroying the valuable contents. The result is a crispy delicacy that makes for a wonderful foundation when preparing a perfect bowl of crunchy muesli. For every hundred parts of flakes, 50 to 70 parts of a seeds and nuts mixture are added. These are mixed with 30 parts “sweet syrup” and 10 parts vegetable oil. In the oven, the composition then gets a beautiful color and is broken down into pieces after it cools down.
Granola can be perfectly integrated into a muesli mix or you can serve it pure. Yogurt is ideally mixed in. Or – and not just for vegans – smoothies.
Fresh fruit improves granola even further. Granola also looks good as topping on fresh fruit.
Real granola is free from granulated sugar. The ingredients are kept together with agave syrup, honey or malt syrup. That’s the reason why self-made granola isn’t less sweet than industrial products. A good granola is, for example, made up of oats, nuts, grains, honey and spices like cinnamon. More delicate ingredients like dried fruits are then added during the cooling process, after the baking.

Overnight Oats
Back to Max Bircher! His classic can also be used very well as base for the so-called overnight oats. Overnight oats are rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and good fats. To make them you need to soak oats overnight and keep them cold. This probably sounds like the British porridge, but it doesn’t have anything to do with it. The next morning you refine the soaked flakes with a grated apple, nuts and lemon juice.

Not everybody has to do it like Bircher, though: for example yogurt and pear (fried in the pan) with cocoa, vanilla or cinnamon provide a sweet and exotic aroma. Fruity variations can be created with grated apples, berries and lemon juice. You can also make your overnight oats sweet and nutty by using, for example, bananas, sultanas, nuts and honey.

Self-made mueslis with yogurt, curd or soy milk and served with fresh fruit can be a healthy eye-catcher as takeaway articles at the shop counter as well as in the (breakfast) buffet.

Entrepreneur Markus Messemer is a bakery consultant from Landau, who has occupied himself intensely with the topic and shared his insights in lectures and workshops. Messemer recognizes the trend and sees crystal clear advantages: “The individualization of mueslis offers enormous opportunities for companies to position themselves regionally in the premium segment with a decent selection,” he thinks.


The following neatly arranged graphic shows the different raw materials that are suitable for perfect muesli:

Download “The_Cereal_and_Granola_Kit.pdf


About Markus Messemer

Seit 2007 intensiv mit dem Thema "CleanLabel" verbunden engagiert sich Markus Messemer für deklarationsfreundliche Rezepturen, Rohstoffe und Technologien.

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