Makes 3 dozen
This is a most delicious Latvian roll that is a cross between a fresh caraway pretzel and a bagel. It will take a few turns to learn to roll them quickly, but the kids will be willing to learn. These are fun to do! The recipe is a gift to us from Maija Riekstinis, a Latvian friend in Seattle.
In a small saucepan heat the milk, butter, sugar, salt, caraway seeds, and water. When the butter is melted and the sugar and salt dissolved, set the pan aside to cool to warm, about 105 degrees F. Place the liquid mixture in a heavy-duty mixer, such as a KitchenAid, and add the yeast to the liquid. Stir to dissolve. Add 5 cups of the flour to the bowl and mix on low until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Using the dough hook, knead in the remaining cup of flour until the dough is very smooth, another 5 minutes. Place on a plastic counter and cover with a large metal bowl. Allow to rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour, and then punch down.
For each pretzel, cut off a bit of the dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll it into a snake about 10 inches long and form it into a pretzel. (See the illustration.) Place each pretzel on a floured kitchen towel and allow to rise for about 15 minutes.
Bring 8 quarts of salted water to a boil and gradually boil the pretzels, about 5 at a time, until they float. This should take just a minute or so. Remove them carefully with a slotted spoon and place them on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
These can be frozen right after they come out of the oven and reheated later in a 350 degrees F oven for just a few minutes.
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