1. Place allspice and cinnamon in a spice or coffee grinder, and process until finely ground. Set aside.
water, dash of salt, dash of sugar, and yeast in a large bowl, stirring
with a whisk. Let stand for 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry
measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour to yeast mixture,
stirring until well combined. Let stand 20 minutes.
3. Place sugar
and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until
light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each
addition. Stir in allspice mixture. Add yeast mixture to butter
mixture; stir with a whisk until well combined. Stir in 1 teaspoon
salt. Add 3 1/2 cups flour, about 1 cup at a time, stirring until a
soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until
smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1
tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough
will feel tacky).
4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking
spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°),
free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press 2
fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
dough into 3 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 14-inch-long
rope. Place ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking
spray (do not stretch); pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid
ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray.
Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
6. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine
1 tablespoon water and egg yolk, stirring with a whisk. Brush half of
yolk mixture over loaf. Let stand for 5 minutes. Repeat procedure with
the remaining yolk mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until loaf
sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.