DIY bokashi bran

A bokashi kitchen composting system is a really good way of transforming kitchen waste into nutrient-rich soil conditioner. It will deal with almost all kitchen food waste including cooked and uncooked meats and fish, dairy products and cooked leftovers which can’t be added to a normal composting system. (See Bokashi)

Bokashi bran

bokashi branBokashi bran, a dry mixture of bran, molasses and micro-organisms, is mixed in with the food scraps in a sealable container which can be kept in the kitchen. Once full, the mix is left for 2 weeks to ferment, then the contents are added to a normal compost bin or wormery, or dug into a hole in the ground and buried. The fermented matter breaks down very quickly into rich compost.

Bokashi bran is normally purchased ready-made (see Bokashi – Active also Bokashi Bins). The initial cost of purchasing the bins, plus the ongoing cost of the bokashi bran sometimes puts people off using what is otherwise a really good system.

However, it is possible to purchase the EM-1 Effective Micro-Organisms and make the bran mixture yourself at home for less – see EM-1 (1 Litre Bottle). Amazon also sell bulk bags of wheat bran, see Bran – 5 Kilos

There are various recipes for bokashi bran on the web, but most work with large quantities and aren’t suitable for normal home use. This is a very simple and easy recipe for a small batch of EM bokashi bran, enough to supply an average home for about a month. The recipe is very easy to scale up if you want to make a few month’s supply.


Mix one tablespoon (15ml) of molasses into 250ml of warm water, then add one tablespoon (15ml) of EM-1. Pour the mixture into 500g of wheat bran and mix very thoroughly. The bran will expand as it absorbs the water.Bokashi Composting book

When it’s well mixed, seal it up in an airtight container and leave in a warm, dark place for about 2-3 weeks.

VERY IMPORTANTdon’t open it up at all for at least two weeks, not even to have a quick peep, or the process won’t work!

When the time is up, the bran should smell fermented and there may be some white mould on the surface, which is a good sign. The mixture is now ready to use, but keeps better if it’s well dried. Spread out on a tray away from direct sunlight until completely dry then store in a cool dry place. The bran should remain active for at least a year.


book - Bokashi Composting by Adam FooterAn alternative suggestion I found is to use ‘kombucha’ tea as an inoculant instead of EM-1 micro-organisms. This is a fermented sweet tea made from a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), which looks like a white rubbery pancake. The tea tastes like a cross between sparkling apple cider and champagne, and is said to be a very beneficial health drink. It’s been used in China for at least two thousand years, where it was known as the ‘tea of immortality’.

You can buy a SCOBY on ebay or Amazon Kombucha Scoby and you will also need something like this Kilner Beverage Dispenser 5ltr to brew it in. Once the culture starts growing it reproduces itself so you might have a lifetime supply of enough tea to keep both you, your friends, and your fermenting buckets healthy for next to nothing! I’ve never tried this and have absolutely no idea if it works, but it could to be worth giving it a go!

Other uses for bokashi bran

Many people give bokashi bran to their chickens to reduce the acidity of their droppings and keep their digestive systems healthy. The bran is sprinkled on the droppings below their perches, and also fed at a rate of 3-5% of the weight of their feed.

Bokashi bran is also said to be a good feed supplement for horses. Apparently about 100g per day can improve digestion, re-balance the gut flora and boost the immune system.

If you try any of these methods, please do come back and let us know how you got on.


More information

If you would like more information about the bokashi system see also our page Bokashi

There are several books on the bokashi system available from Amazon, for example:

Bokashi Composting by Adam Footer

Bokashi Composting: Kitchen Scraps to Black Gold in 2 Weeks by Michael O’Halloron

Better Bokashi: …better earth by Todd Veri

How to Make Bokashi Compost, From Your Kitchen Waste & How to Make Bokashi Serum by C N Pankhurst


17 replies on “DIY bokashi bran”

  1. Bokashi - ??? « Nifty sustainable stuff! says:

    […] website ( provided the following […]

  2. Rob.b says:

    Actually there are very few alternatives that are easy as using Bokashi for transforming our kitchen waste to odourless fertilizer inside the comfort of our home.

  3. Zoe says:

    Thanks for this great post! I have been looking for a Bokashi recipe using smaller quantities and don’t fancy paying £22 a litre for the EM…so may well look into the tea, how did it go? that’s if you tried it…thanks again :0)

  4. Gill Spooner says:

    i bought my bokashi bins last year, along eith a supply of bokashi bran. I did not get to use all this as i have a wormery and compost bins. Can i reuse the bokashi bran using the Micro effective organisms, to make some more that works? I would welcome any responses. Gill

  5. june says:

    I see no reason why you can’t re-use the bran, but have you tried it to see if it still works? It should remain active for at least a year if it’s stored in a cool dry place.

  6. june says:

    I have tried making the tea – it’s delicious, and so far none of it has made it as far as the bokashi bin!!

  7. John Orford says:

    Wheat bran is a bit scarce around here but we have a lot of rice bran, both the first grinding which includes the husk and the second, polishing, grind. What say you – suitable?

  8. june says:

    I reckon rice bran will probably work just as well. Would be interested to know 🙂

  9. tagesgeld zinsvergleich says:

    Each and every time I see blogs as very good as this mainly because I will need to quit bludging and begin working on mine.Thanks

  10. Bokashier says:

    Has anyone tried using scoby? I haven found anyone that explains how to do it. I really don’t want to buy EM stuff from a company.

  11. Howdy! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the fantastic work!

  12. TREVOR says:

    I’m about to try mixing EM, molasses and bran as directed above. I need advice as to the safe size of container to use. Will the mix expand much during fermentation? Will I end up with bran textured walls and ceiling?

  13. Naomi Devlin says:

    I make water kefir – which is similar to Kombucha, in that it is a collection of yeasts and bacteria that you use to ferment sugar water into a probiotic drink. My kefir grains are constantly growing so that I have more kefir than I and my family can drink! I have started putting the apricots that I use in the kefir ferment into the compost and also adding a slosh or two to my kitchen caddy with each load. I’ve noticed that the awful kitchen caddy smell is less or even absent when I add water kefir to it – but I’ve yet to see the effect on the compost because I’ve only been doing it about a month. I’m guessing that I could ferment a bucketful for a couple of weeks each time rather than just putting it straight into the larger compost bin – but it seems like a stretch for me as I already have my water kefir bubbling away in the corner! Will report back when I’ve made a proper load of compost.

  14. mulberry says:

    Thanks for this! We have a tiny house and garden, and no space for a compost bin so I want to try bokashi composting, maybe with a wormery too.
    I’m soon to start making water kefir, and I’d be interested to see if that would work so I don’t have to keep buying the EM1. I wonder how it worked for you, Naomi?

  15. Joseph says:

    This is fascinating and valuable information. I will try making the bokashi bran myself and soon. Thanks for the guidance!!

  16. Pete Hodkinson says:

    I looked around and found this place sell 1 litre EM-1 for £8.50 (£13 inc p&p). They brand it as Soil & Plant Conditioner. Aldo looked around for supplies of wheat bran and found Mole Valley cheapest at £8.40 for 20kg. Try any wholesale farm shop for similar prices.
    Molasses are cheap anyway. Happy daze! X

  17. Pete Hodkinson says:

    Whoops. Meant to let you know the EM website.

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