Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to Make Bokashi for Food Waste Recycling

Hundreds of years ago Japanese farmers began the process of bokashi composting. Today, it has become a popular way to compost due to its many practical advantages. Unlike other forms of aerobic composting, bokashi utilizes anaerobic process to break down material. For the most effective bokashi mix, you can also incorporate a microbial inoculant like Effective Microorganisms® or EM. EM ferments and accelerates the break down of green waste.

Benefits of bokashi composting over traditional composting:
· Faster than standard composting
· Requires no churning or turning
· Creates rich compost soil
· Significantly reduces foul odors
· Can be used to recycle more types of waste, including meats and dairy

If you’d like to take your composting to the next level by making your very own bokashi check out our recipe below.

Teraganix’s Easy EM•1® Bokashi Recipe:
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Fermentation: 2 weeks (minimum)
Bokashi Ingredients and Materials

The following ingredients and materials are needed to make a 50-pound bag of EM•1® Bokashi. Visit the EM® Bokashi page of our recipes section for instructions on how to make alternative quantities of bokashi.

¾ Cup EM•1®
¾ Cup Molasses
3-4 Gallons of Water
50lbs Bran (carbon material)

1 Large Black Plastic Bag or Airtight Container
Container or Surface to Mix the Ingredients In/On

Step 1: Mix one gallon of the water with the molasses until the molasses has dissolved.
Step 2: Add the EM•1® to the liquid and mix thoroughly.
Step 3: Mix the liquid thoroughly into the bran.
Step 4: Test to make sure the moisture level is correct. Squeeze some of the bran into a ball. If it holds shape and no extra liquid comes out, it’s the correct moisture. If it is too dry, add more water and mix thoroughly once more.
Step 5: Once the mixture is the correct moisture, put it into your bag or container. If using a bag, tie the bag tightly, squeezing out excess air. If using a container, press down mixture and cover container tightly.
Step 6: Place the mixture somewhere warm and dry. Let it ferment for a minimum of two weeks.

After the two week fermentation period check the bokashi to ensure that no black, brown or green mold is growing on it. If you see white mold that’s fine as it’s a natural part the fermentation process. Now that you know how to make bokashi it’s time to start mixing. If you have any questions or would like to share your own tips and experiences with bokashi composting, please post a comment below.


  1. Hi, ok so I am searching your website. We made a batch according to the directions listed here and all of our questions are.... and then what? Is this batch what we can use in a home composting system of layering between food scraps in an anaerobic bucket? Is this the stuff we bury in our compost bins? Is this the stuff we can put in our garden? How should it look when it is done? Is this like a kamboucha where there is a "mother organism" and as long as we can keep making this recipe we are inoculating everything? Thanks!

    1. The fermented bran is step one. It can be used for most of your questions. However, focusing on the fermented food wastes, that bran is then used as a starter in an airtight bucket to ferment food wastes. After about two weeks in the bucket you bury the fermented food wastes in the ground, mixing with some soil, and cover with 8-12 inches of soil. In about 2 weeks the food wastes have completely broken down and will feed plants and worms and build soil.

      No, you can use this to make more like a kombucha or kefir starter. You need to start with EM-1, molasses and water every time to get a consistent, high quality bokashi.

  2. I came to know about restaurant composting grand rapids mi which is a cost effective move. How large your business should be for this to be best.

    1. Size does not matter. Our system starts with a 5-gallon bucket. There are several restaurants and country clubs that use large garbage cans and will use the fermented food waste for kitchen gardens on their property. Others may give the fermented food waste to a farm for use as a fertilizer.

  3. hello
    three questions.
    i have already start my bokashi bran with EM active(quality staff , EM1/Molasses fermented 3weeks, 14lt water/500ml EMa/500ml molasses/27kg bran )and NOT with EM1. is it ok?
    and second
    can i use this, directly to the soil?
    should live it 15days to plant as normal bokashi?

    1. It is best to use EM-1 for consistency and quality of the bokashi.

      You can use bokashi directly in the soil. It is loaded with carbon that will help poor soils.

      I recommend fermenting for a minimum of 2 weeks, but prefer 4.

    2. i will ferment it for 3weeks.
      the third question was if i must bury the bran for 2weeks as normal food scrap bokashi before planting or just mix and plant..

  4. I have made my first batch of Bokashi using the EM1 method and let it rest for at least 3 weeks. I've just put it out to dry and find there is a small amount of blue mold spots. I understand the white mold clumps are okay and I've broken them up to dry. Is the blue an indication that something went wrong and this batch will not be effective for food waste composting? It did smell nice like bran muffins so I'm hoping... :)

  5. I have already mold on my bokashi bran, should I scrape it off or crumble it?

    1. If the "mold" is black or green, scoop it out. If it is white, this is NOT mold, but beneficial fungi and should be kept in there.

  6. If the mold is dark (brown, green or black) something has gone wrong and it will spoil. If it is white mold, leave it.

  7. I have been searching the internet for this, and I am glad I found it here! Thanks

    trash Removal Toronto

  8. I don't see anything in your instructions about letting your bokashi dry after you've fermented it for a minimum of 2 weeks. Aren't you supposed to let it dry out after fermentation?

    1. Drying is not a requirement. You can dry for long-term storage, say if you make a large batch at once. However, if the moisture is correct and you keep it in an airtight container, you do not have to dry the bokashi.

  9. Instead of burying the bokashi in outside soil can I put it in a plastic bin buried in bagged hummus soil amendment?

    1. In order for the food wastes to completely break down, you need to add it to some soil, feed to worms, or compost it. If I follow your question correctly, adding the fermented food waste to a humus-rich soil would work. The ratio of fermented food waste to soil would be at least 1 part food waste to 4 parts soil, if not more. You would want to give it a couple weeks before planting in it.

      There was an EcoPure magazine article that showed a way to do it for planters. The magazine is out of print now. I will see if I can find a copy I have at home, scan it, and put it on our website, (, in the next day or so.

      If it is kept airtight, it could stay the same for a decade (or more!) The oldest fermented food waste bucket I have seen was 7 years old and you couldn't tell if it was a week old or longer!)

  10. What is the best method for drying a fresh batch of Bokashi? Would drying it on warm in an oven be too much heat?

    1. Simply air drying is the best way to dry it. The oven will be too hot, even on warm. And, you only need to dry it for long-term storage. It is perfectly OK to use bokashi that has not been dried.

  11. I put my bran in a dehydrator at 105. Unfortunately, I didn't get to it before it dried and it got up to 114. (I need an instant read thermometer in various places, 114 was the hottest). Will it be okay?