Warm the bowl of your mixer with hot water, then dump it out.
Mix the yeast, warm water, and sugar in the warmed bowl with a rubber spatula. Let sit for 5 minutes, until it is foamy and the sugar has dissolved.
Add the eggs one at a time and using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until mixed.
With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour, the salt, and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add 2 more cups of flour and mix for 5 minutes more. Still on low, add the soft butter in chunks and mix, occasionally scraping the paddle, for 2 minutes longer.
Switch to the dough hook attachment, and set on low speed again.
While the mixer is running, sprinkle in the last quarter cup of flour. Mix on low speed for 3-4 minutes, until well combined and elastic, but still sticky.
This is a soft, sticky dough. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for an hour--it should have risen substantially in the fridge.
Grease a 12-muffin tin, if you are making muffins, or two loaf pans.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut in half.
For muffins: pat each half into a rectangle with the dough about a half inch thick.
Spread the raisins and dried cherries evenly over the rectangle, using more if desired. Starting on one of the rectangle's wide ends, roll up into a tight cylinder. The dough may stick, use a pastry scraper or a sharp knife to help loosen it. Pinch the seam closed.
Cut each cylinder into 6 equal portions. Stick each dough portion seam side down into the muffin tin. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 2 hours, until doubled in size.
For loaves: pat each half into a 6x8 rectangle, and roll on the wider side, as instructed above. Place each cylinder, seam side down, in a loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 2 hours, until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Beat the egg with the milk and brush the tops of the risen muffins (or loaves). Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown. Bake loaves for 30-35 minutes. Let cool briefly in their pans before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.