We buy wheat bran in a 50 lb. sack for about $25 at our local feed store (2018 prices). Other people use newspaper or sawdust instead of bran but we haven’t tried that yet. Rice bran (used for horse bedding) looks like another great low cost alternative.
Assemble these ingredients
- 10 lbs bran
- 2/3 C bokashi serum or EM1(TM)
- 2/3 C blackstrap molasses
- 20 C water, preferably de-chlorinated
- Large container to mix in
- At least a 2.5 gallon container with an airtight lid to “cook” in (we use a 3 gallon pail with a gamma lid)
- plastic wrap to fit over the bran in the “cook” container
This is about twice the water/serum/molasses recommended in other recipes on the web. Perhaps the wheat bran we can buy is extra dry? You may want to start with half the water, serum and molasses and see how moist your bran mix is before adding more. It should be thoroughly moist but you should not be able to squeeze water out.
Most recipes call for the use of de-chlorinated water (or well water or rain water) because chlorine can kill the microbes you’re trying to propogate. We’ve had to use chlorinated water at times and the process still worked. We now have a de-chlorinating filter on a hose bib, so we use water from the filter.
Mix the blackstrap molasses in a little hot water to dissolve it. Dilute with cold water or let it cool to less than 110F (it will feel just warm on the inside of your wrist). The serum microbes will be killed by temperatures over 110F. You want to have some nice warm (less than 110F) molasses infused water to put your serum in.
Mix the serum and warm, dissolved molasses mixture together. Add to the bran while stirring with your hand or a paddle. You’ve added enough liquid when all the bran is moist and a handful just sticks together when squeezed.
Put the bran in the sealable container, pushing it down to remove all air. Cover the top of the bran with plastic wrap to keep air out. This part is very important! If you can find a better way to seal the bran in, let me know!
Seal the lid.
Store in a cool place for 2-3 weeks
- tarp to dry the bran on
- container to store the dry bran in
When you open the lid of your inoculated bran, it should have a vinegar like smell. A bit of white mold is okay. Stinky parts indicate you didn’t get the top sealed from air well enough.
We dry our bran on a tarp outside, turning it several times a day to get all the parts dry. It takes 2-3 days drying time, even in our California sun. The picture at right shows 10 lbs of bran drying on a 4′ x 6′ tarp. If it is not entirely dry when you put it away it can grow mold, so it’s best to get it thoroughly dry.