Dissolve yeast in 1 tbsp warm water and stand until foamy. Sieve flour and ½ tsp fine salt into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and add yeast mixture and 2 tbsp water. Stir in enough flour to form a batter, cover with a clean tea towel and stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until foamy.
Add butter and milk to mixture and stir in remaining flour. Knead until smooth, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Place coarse salt in a small frying pan, cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until salt starts to pop, then remove and cool.
Preheat oven to 230C. Knead dough to knock down, then divide into 15 pieces. Roll out each piece to about 25cm long, fold into a loop, cross over ends and press ends into opposite sides of the loop. Place on a baking paper-lined oven tray and scatter with coarse salt and caraway seeds. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden, then cool on a wire rack. Pretzels will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Note Strong flour has a high gluten content and
is used for breadmaking. It's available from select supermarkets