How much bokashi bran?

Bokashi bran is packed full of the bokashi essential microbes (EM). These microbes are the magic behind bokashi composting. It’s necessary that you add enough bokashi bran to ferment your food scraps effectively. But how much bokashi bran is enough?

How much bokashi bran should you add?

Scrapping food waste into bokashi bucketOne of the easy things about bokashi composting is that you can never add too much bokashi bran. In fact, more is better.

As a minimum, we recommend adding 1 to 2 heaping tablespoons of bokashi bran for every inch of food waste that you add to your kitchen composter.

Sprinkle the bran so that there is an even coverage across the surface of your food waste. You can mix the food waste and bran slightly to make sure the bokashi microbes are spread evenly through the food waste. This will make sure that the bokashi microbes get to work on all of your food scraps as quickly as possible.

If you are adding a larger load of food scraps, make sure to layer 1 inch of food waste with 1 to 2 heaping tablespoons of bokashi bran, and repeat. This will help to ensure even coverage of bran throughout the kitchen composter.

For those new to bokashi composting, we recommend being more generous when adding bokashi bran to the kitchen composter, at first. The extra bran won’t hurt a bit, and it will allow the beginner more flexibility in finding that sweet spot that works for bokashi composting within their kitchen.

Signs that you are not adding enough bran

If you haven’t added enough bran, you will find out pretty quickly.

If you experience any of the following then we recommend adding more bokashi bran:

  • A foul, or putrid smell;
  • Blue/green mold;
  • Problems with pests after the fermented food waste has been added to your garden or compost pile; or
  • Visible pieces of food waste in your soil more than 2-4 weeks after you’ve added your fermented food waste (except bones and large pieces that you did not chop before adding to your bokashi bucket).

If, after increasing the amount of bran, you still experience any of the above then you might want to read this troubleshooting post to help your bokashi composting get back on track.

Blog post originally written on Oct 5, 2016 and updated Nov 28, 2017

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8 thoughts on “How much bokashi bran?

  1. My bokashi bran smells like ammonia. Does this matter or should I throw it out and buy a new bag? We are a small family, just the two of us left now and don’t have a lot of waste. Consequently it takes a long time to fill a bokashi bucket.

    1. Hi Sjannette,

      Thanks for the question. Bokashi bran should have a yeasty, home brew beer type smell. The smell of ammonia would suggest that it has gone bad. How long have you had the bran? If stored at around room temperature, out of direct sunlight and in an airtight container, good quality bokashi bran should remain viable for up to 2 years.

      In terms of filling your bucket, it doesn’t matter if it takes longer than two weeks to fill your bokashi bin. Once the fermentation is complete, the bokashi microbes will remain dormant and the bokashi’d food waste will remain unchanged until you add it to the soil. So, you can just keep adding the food waste until your bin is full. Alternatively, if you want the bokashi compost sooner, you can leave the part-filled bin for 2 weeks to finish the fermentation and start filling another bucket. Cover the food waste in the first bin with a plastic bag or old kitchen plate to keep the air out. After two weeks you can bury the bokashi pre-compost as usual. Then cover the food waste in the second (part-filled) bin and restart filling the first. Either way will work, it just depends what works best for you.

      Feel free to ask any other questions. Happy composting,
      the Bokashi Living team 🙂

      1. Thanks for your reply. I do really enjoy this new way of composting. The bran is maybe six months old. I’ve had in stored in my laundry cupboard in a ziplock bag. I think I’ll chuck it out, just in case and start a new bag. Can you recommend a better storage idea. I’ll await your answer. Thank you for being so helpful.

  2. I agree, it’s probably easiest to start with a fresh batch of bokashi bran. Your storage set up sounds ideal (room temperature, sealed airtight container and out of direct sunlight). This suggests that the bran was not dried thoroughly in the first place. If there was too much moisture in the bran, then it does not store as well. Do you mind me asking if this was homemade bran or purchased bran?

    1. Purchased. I wouldn’t blame the store though as they source direct from somewhere else no doubt. I transferred it into the ziplock by myself so I can’t remember the brand. I threw it out today and am carrying on with the new bag. Or, actually do you recommend I begin the bucket all over again. It had 1/2 cup of the old bran in the base and two additions.

      1. I suggest you add a generous handful of the new bran to the existing food waste in your bokashi bucket. This should ensure that there are enough beneficial bokashi microbes to properly ferment the food waste already in your bokashi bin. You should then be fine to continue adding your food waste and use the new bran.
        Happy composting 🙂

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