I've been pondering how to write this post. Fermenting comes in many forms, which could make this a very lengthy post. I still have a garden to plant, so I'll keep it short. I'll add a couple more posts down the road with easy ways to change your recipe to include a ferment.
The basics for fermenting are the same with soaking, only for grains there is no need to ditch the soaking water and it will start to bubble on it's own. Don't be scared, it's friendly.
The Industrialisation of our food created shortcuts, a shorter rising period, enhanced by machines to the point that most breads sold these days are chemically enhanced to keep the rising to an absolute minimum and the shelf life to the maximum. Time is more about money and convenience and less about health and taste.
We go through a lot of bread, fed up with the crappy tasteless bread I chose to bake my own.
Sourdough bread is amazing. It's so basic: flour, water and a little salt, but it needs time for the fermenting process to do it's thing, about 8 to 12 hours. This process will not only let your bread rise it will also improve the taste and make it much easier to digest.
My recipe on how to make sourdough bread, daily:
Click here for the link
If you're currently baking yeast breads, try to use a longer rise. Halving the yeast and using cold instead of warm water will easily change this, adding a couple of hours to the first rise, but creating a much better loaf. Substitute a tablespoon of your recipe required water with yoghurt or buttermilk and you're adding some good bacterias to help along.
Every now and then I make a batch of Turkish bread to accompany some soup or stew. The dough is a mixture of flour, water, yoghurt and olive oil. If I follow the recipe it takes about an hour to rise and 25 minutes to bake. Quick and easy, but it leaves me feeling bloated.
Putting the bread dough in the fridge for 24 before baking changes that, this very slow rise works with most breads.