Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Science Project

Sorry, I'm afraid it's yet another post about Bokashi, but this time it contains some colour.

For some reason, probably due to that feline-life-sapping trait, curiosity, I pondered the possibilities of creating my very own micro-organism starter to be used in my Bokashi.  It seemed a natural step on from the DIY grain mix and again was again driven by an eagerness not to pay for anything I could do, albeit poorly, on my own.  I'd heard of people creating their own yoghurt and sour dough starters and, because I knew nothing about either, felt that was a firm foundation for my own attempt at a Bokashi starter.

With a bit of searching courtesy of I came across an interesting forum post entitled "Extreme Bokashi" which outlined the experience of someone who had already tried this at home.  As a bonus, the post also suggested that newspaper could be used in place of grains in the mix - yet another sockful of pennies saved as newspapers fall free from the sky (well, you have to dive into the neighbours' recycle bins).

Anyway, back to the starter, which required a two part process.  The first part required a mix of one part rice grains and two water, shaken well and the liquid drained into a jar and covered loosely with some kitchen paper.  This is left in a ventilated, cool, dark spot for about five days, over which time it develops the bacteria used in the next phase.

Cue dramatic imagery....

The wonder of science

The wonder of the mildly curious
The next part of the process requires great courage and a very, very understanding partner. 

The rice water is added to about ten parts milk and the container covered lightly and left to ferment for fourteen days - yes, that's right - Milk + ferment + 14 days.  Ventilation and/or isolation is clearly the key here.  Admittedly our pioneer poster didn't disguise the truth stating "Most of the solids should float to the top, leaving a yellowish liquid".  I'm sure most would shudder just thinking about the sort of smell that would accompany such a picture.  Clearly not a project for the faint hearted.

That yellowish liquid, however, is the lactobacillus starter and can be used in place of the EM liquid in the DIY recipe.

Now I need to find a post about purging a house of bad odours.


  1. Hi Flo!
    And here was I thinking keeping compost worms was an antisocial hobby :D
    I think I would be scared of something titled 'extreme Bokashi'! Regardless, I am finding this a very interesting series of posts and if I get as far as trying Bokashi I know where to come for advice!

  2. Hi GG. I must be truly anti-social as I have compost worms too. I'm coming to the end of the 14 day fermentation period and am not looking forward to seeing what's "under the hood" :)

  3. ha are funny...I guess you need your humour when attempting smelly and revolting looking projects...ha ha...I tried compost worms..YUK!!!!!!...I know I should..I know I should...but YUK!!!!!

  4. I finished the 14 day ferment today and can report that the smell and resultant "mixture" was quite unlike anything I'd expected.

    The solids did congeal at the top and they developed quite an interesting sponge-like form.
    The yellowish liquid described in the original post invoked imagery of hospitals - the bad bits.
    The smell was more subtle than I'd expected too. I was expecting explosive-action-movie impact on the senses, but it was far more subtle. Think trained ninja assassin on a dark and stormy night. Everything seems fine and you don't notice the danger until it's way too late. The scent also lingers in the nostrils long after the evidence of the experiment has been disposed of.
    The experiment is definitely one for the shed.

  5. Hiya FLO,
    You haven't posted for so long, that you won't be reading new comments.
    Still, I wanted to say how much I enjoy your writing style and that I wish you'd put finger to keyboard again.
    Also: By coincidence, the method for getting cigarette smoke out of a room is a few bowls with dry rice grains dotted about. In your case dog eat dog sort of thing.