It's been explained that soaking wheat increases vitamin content and makes all the difficult to digest proteins more available. Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid.
Why is phytic acid such a culprit? Apparantly phytate is not digestible to humans and it makes certain important minerals such as zinc and iron and even calcium and magnesium unabsorbable.
Also, proteins in the grain are very difficult to digest and it puts a lot of strain on our digestive system if we're consuming un-fermented/un-soaked grains. In her book Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon explains that if enough strain is placed on the digestive system it can cause celiac disease, allergies, Candida, mental illness or chronic indigestion.
It leaves me wondering if this could be a large part of the reason there is so much gluten intolerance in the U. S. today ...
So I've wondered - did people hundreds or even thousands of years ago "treat their wheat"?
In the book The Maker's Diet the author explains that the ancient ways of of harvesting grain allowed the grains to germinate or sprout in the field. Cheeseslave coincides with Sally's theory and lists some ways people have gone about soaking their grains as well.
Basically, in order to allow wheat to be more suitable, healthy and gentle for human consumption there are three ways to treat wheat:
Soaking (in an acid medium)
Lactic Acid Fermentation (sourdough)
I have a genuine interest and desire to study this subject much more - I already have an idea as to where my conclusions will steer towards but for now I do feel soaking (and sprouting) are beneficial.
Passionate Homemaking has some good explanations as to how one should go about soaking their wheat.
For desserts like cookies or cakes I use my sprouted flour (it's just easier that way) and for breads, pizza crusts and such I soak my wheat (it makes great bread).
I'm working on a soaking "cheat sheet" that I'll post sometime soon.
Photo credit: http://www.livingonadime.com/how-to-make-homemade-bread/