Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water until bubbly. To the warm milk add soft butter, salt, sugar, vanilla, spices and orange rind. Let cool to lukewarm.
Add yeast mixture and beaten eggs and mix well. Sift in 4 cups flour, stirring well, add raisins and nuts alternately. Then add remaining flour, beat until dough does not stick to bowl.
Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth and elastic about 8 or 10 minutes. Put in greased bowl, cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough and divide in half. This make 2 loaves.
Cut 4 large and 5 smaller portions, roll each into long rolls. Braid the 4 rolls forming a loaf. Put on pan lined with greased brown paper. Braid the 3 smaller rolls and place on top, then remaining 2 pieces on top.
Brush with beaten egg whites in a little water. Let rise to double in bulk. For rich crust brush with melted butter during baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, lower temperature to 325 degrees for 45 minutes longer depending on how you like it.