Prezzers and Petitioners are a salty snack that have found their way into taverns in very different continents - you can find them in Santharia in Sarvonia and Nybelmar's Krath Empire. There is little difference between the two and both were made separately without knowledge of the other being made. Prezzers are the Krath Empire version and Petitioners are the Santharian version. Petitioners are softer and chewy, while Prezzers are hard and crunchy. Both Petitioners and Prezzers are also called "Pretzels" and "Bretzen".
Image description. A bunch of Prezzers, a salty tasty snack of Santharia and in Nybelmar's Krath Empire. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.
Pretzel is made with a single long strand of dough twisted into a loose knot. In
they are called "Petitioners" because they look like a person who has crossed
their arms in prayer, a formation said to please
Seyella, so it only fits that the Temples
of Eyasha give away baskets of these to
worshippers and the poor in that area.
The Krath Empire version is just kept simple as a circle or as two cirlces attached to make what looks like the numeral 8. It starts out as a large oval and then the long sides are put together and twisted. There was no real meaning to making the shape like this, it is just how it was first done. Due to its simple shape, it is a favourite of housewives and novice bakers, which has helped it achieve popularity.
While the Krath Prezzer is hard and cruchy, the Santharian Petitioner is softer, and smoother, ideal for dipping. Thus, while the Santharians only bake their Pretzels to a light cinnabrown, the Krath keep theirs in the fire until they have reached an aldemirene brown.
Small pieces of hard-salt are sprinkled onto the dough right before baking, so that the salt is stuck onto the Pretzel, until some playful child or a salt-hating adult picks it off.
Both versions are smooth, but for the hard salt. This smoothness is occasionally interrupted by a slight dip. This is caused by a baker when handling them. He may squeeze a little bit too hard and create a slight depression in the dough.
Taste. Both versions taste the same, like a hard piece of bread with a slight salty taste. (Its not just the bits of hard salt, but the salt soaked bread.) It tastes like a hard piece of bread because that is basically what it is. The bread actually has a little bit of saltiness to it too. This is done by mixing the dough with slightly salty water before it is cooked.
Both forms of Pretzels are often found in taverns - as the salt makes people thirsty, tavern-keepers often lay a few out, just to get the patrons to drink more.
Usages/Effects. Prezzers and Petitioners are usually an appetizer, used by tavern-keepers to encourage to get the customer thirsty. This causes some people can have quite a few drinks before their main meal even reaches them.
Some of these treats are also covered with chocolate, to create Chocolate Covered Prezzers. Since chocolate is too expensive, some taverns cover their Prezzers or Petitioners with various kinds of syrup. The most common kind is maple, though others are used often. These Syrup Covered Petitioners and Prezzers are still quite good, though not near as good as the actual chocolate ones.
Method of Preparation.
Both the Prezzer and Petitioner are made the same way, the only difference being
in the form they are twisted. If a baker were able to gather all the
ingredients, he would be able to make these quite easily. The needed ingredients
include: dough of choice (usually loibl), hard
salt, water mixed with salt, and some
saleratys. The hardest ingredient to find is the Saleratys, though most can get
some from a local alchemist.
First off you take the dough and the salted water, and mix the two together. Pour in a little water at a time, then kneed the dough for a bit. Then add a bit more of the water. A few splashes of the salted water is enough to add some saltiness to the dough.
The second step is to take off little bits of the dough and roll them out into a long string. The width should be around a nailsbreadth and the length should be a little bit shorter than a palmspan. Take this string of dough and twist it. For the Krath version, just make an oval and then twist the sides so the middle is twisted together. For the Sarvonian version, make the line into a heart shape, with the ends of the string touching the bottom of the heart, or the middle of the string. Then take the ends and twist them around each other twice. Then take the ends and push them into the bottom of the heart shape. Push down on the twist to make sure they stick together. This step is the hardest, and may take some practice to perfect.
The third step is to take the Prezzer or Petitioner and dip them in the saleratys. The Saleratys will coat the Pretzel and make it shiny when the snack is fully cooked. After you have dipped all the dough Prezzers and Petitioners in the saleratys, take your hard salt and chip some small pieces off onto each of the shapes.
When the desired about of hard salt is applied, pop the snacks in the oven and check every now and then to see if they are done. You will know they are done by the shiny colour. To make sure they are done all the way, take one out and snap it in half. If it snaps and there is no doughiness in the center then they are done. The Petitioner is usually a bit a softer than the Prezzer, so Petitioners may not snap. The best way to tell if a Petitioner is done is by the colour. Take them out and let them sit, until cool. - Then... Enjoy!
Origins. Both the Krath Empire and Santharia came up with these salty snacks without knowing the other was creating an equivalent snack. It is not known who was first to create them but all the Krathazar believe they were first, and then most of the Santharians believe it was made first on their continent. A handful of Santharians believe the Krathazar made them first. This is mostly due to the fact that the Krathazar are credited with the discovery of a use of saleratys with Prezzers. These few Santharians will rarely, if ever, say that the Krathazar were first, though.
Pretzels are quite cheap to make, needing only dough mixed with salt water, and some hard salt to sprinkle on it. As such, they are sold cheap enough for the common people to be able to afford them a few times a week.
Myth/Lore. Santharia didn't use saleratys on their Petitioners until recently. Originally only the Krath Empire had the shiny sheen to their Prezzer. Then when Santharia found out that the Krath version was shiny they were determined to find out how they did it. For several years the secret was kept. Then somehow the information was leaked to Santharia. It is thought that a Krathazar baker had been seen using the saleratys by an alchemist, and then the alchemist spread the word. We have no records that show if this is actually how it happened or not. This is just what is widely believed to have happened.
How the Krath Empire figured out that saleratys worked is more documented in a few diaries and a family cookbook or two.
These sources all agree that a baker named Tilan Nearia was making Prezzers, and he had made it to the stage where he had just finished putting the salted water in the dough. Then he was distracted by something and left the dough sitting on the table.
Some time after he had left the room, his son came in with his friend. The friend was a son of an alchemist, and had taken some saleratys from his father's collection of alchemicals and substances. He was going to conduct some experiments of his own later. The friend set the saleratys on the table next to the dough. Then the friend and the chef's son started to play and at one point knocked into the table, spilling the saleratys onto the dough.
They both were afraid of being caught, the baker's son afraid of being punished for ruining the dough, and the alchemist's son afraid of being caught taking the saleratys. They decided to try and hide the evidence by kneeding the dough and then burying the bottle. Then they both went back to their homes and tried to act normal.
Tilan came back and then resumed cooking the Prezzers unaware that a substance had been added to the dough. When the Prezzers were done cooking, the chef was amazed to see that his Prezzers were shiny. He could not think of any reason for them to be shiny so he called his son, and asked if he had done anything or saw anything.
His son confessed that he and his friend had spilled something in the dough. When Tilan talked with the alchemist, and they found out that it was saleratys, the chef went home and threw the Prezzers away. He didn't know what the Prezzers would do since they had saleratys in them.
That night his pet got to the thrown away Prezzers and ate them. When Tilan woke up and found out he thought he might lose his pet. But nothing happened to the pet. So after awhile Tilan decided to see how the Prezzers would taste. He made a new batch and this time purposely put in some saleratys. When he tried them, he found that they did not taste any different than a normal Prezzer.
Once he was sure that nothing was going to happen to him he started to sell these "Shiny Pretzels". He told a few of his friends about this and word got spread around. Eventually the entire Krath Empire knew how to make these famous "Shiny Pretzel".
Importance. These snacks are found in many taverns, in both the Krath Empire and Santharia. The people enjoy the saltiness of the Prezzers and Petitioners and can eat bowls at a time. Many people eat a bowl of Prezzers or Petitioners a few times a week, and the wealthier may have them every day. Tavern owners like these in their taverns to increase the number of drinks ordered, and that they do. They are easy enough to make and the ingredients aren't too hard to find that they can be sold cheap, and occasionally given away.