Making EM bokashi bran a quart at a time
The EM America recipe for EM bokashi bran produces vast heaping quantities of the stuff, and requires fifty pounds of wheat bran!!! Even the smaller retailer-provided instructions begin with eight or ten pounds of bran. Bran takes up a fair amount of space for its weight: At seven plus cups per pound of bran, ten pounds is something like five gallons—which is a larger volume than my trash can, apartment-dweller that I am. And that’s before you consider mixing space or the way bran expands as it absorbs fluid.
It is, however, perfectly possible to make EM bokashi bran without first clearing enough space to raise a barn. (Or even a garden shed. -G-)
My wheat bran, I think I mentioned, came from the bulk section at Sun Harvest. $0.69/lb. list price. That’s a much better deal than the small packages in the cereal aisle, at $2.19/10 oz., and even if you’re only fermenting occasional small buckets, you might as well make at least a pound of EM bokashi bran at a time.
Why? This is why I write about “practical minimum volumes” instead of simply minimums: sometimes, while smaller is possible, it doesn’t make much sense. You could make EM bokashi bran a pint at a time, but why bother? It takes the same amount of time and effort. Cost? Bran is cheap! And bokashi bucket fermentation is far more likely to be successful if you’re generous, even profligate, with your EM bokashi bran.
My current bucket is 3.5 gallons. It’s just about half full, and there’s already more than a cup of EM bokashi bran in there—more than recommended, but not by much. If you only have a pint of EM bokashi bran on hand, you may be reluctant to add a scoop for luck. To toss in some more because those leftovers had cream sauce. To pre-apply in a holding bucket...
By all means, go ahead and ferment EM bokashi bran in smaller containers if you can’t spare a big bucket for the month or haven’t anywhere to put one; but you might as well mix up as large a batch as you’re likely to need. The make-at-home instructions include drying the post-ferment bran for storage; assuming you have the space for that, you could make enough EM bokashi bran for the year, all at once.
Me, I’m not so into the drying, and it’s not actually required if the EM bokashi bran will be used soon. Sources differ about just how long the undried product can be held without spoiling or losing effectiveness, and I’ll post about it if/when I manage to spoil some, but it won’t be a baby batch that happens to! One pound of EM bokashi bran at a time is right for my needs: it’s enough for at least two apartment-sized buckets, can be mixed up in the kitchen in a single container, without fuss or any need for odd utensils, and gets used quickly enough that there’s no need to worry about drying it.
To make one baby batch of EM bokashi bran:
Mix 1 tablespoon molasses into
1 cup warm water. When thoroughly blended, add
1 tablespoon EM-1 inoculant fluid.
Pour into 1 pound wheat bran or other inert carrier and mix well. Seal container and set aside three to four weeks before using; ready when coated with an even layer of white mycelium. DO NOT OPEN TO CHECK ON EM BOKASHI BRAN until at least two weeks have passed (warm season in zone 8b, add time for colder seasons/climes).
*Note: for my bulk bran, 1 pound = 7.2 cups dry. I’m not that precise, seven to seven and a quarter cups works just fine. Mix it in a container that looks about a third again too large for the dry bran, as it will expand as it absorbs water. (One of those plastic 34.5 oz coffee canisters is pretty much ideal.)
Thanks to Scott I, who, in the comment section of someone else’s blog-post on bokashi, was kind enough to post an apartment-sized recipe conversion.