Scald the milk, and then stir in the butter. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
If desired, proof the yeast in the water into which 2 t of the sugar has been added, and which has been warmed to 100oF.
Pour the milk mixture, eggs, water, yeast, sugar, salt and anise extract into large bowl.
Stir in 1 cup of flour and beat until smooth.
Add 2 more cups of flour to make a soft dough, adding additional water or flour as necessary.
Turn out the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Put the dough into a greased bowl, and flip it over to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk—about 1 hour.
Turn out on a lightly floured board and thoroughly knead in the raisins, candied fruit and almonds.
Divide the dough in halves, and roll each half into a rope about 1 inch in diameter and 2 feet long.
Twist the ropes together and arrange them in a circle on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Wet the ends of the ropes so they can be firmly joined.
Gently spread the twist at regular intervals and insert the tinted eggs; the number of twists will determine how many eggs are required.
Lightly grease the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk—about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350oF.
Gently brush the dough with one beaten egg to create a shiny finish on the baked bread.
Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the bread is golden.
Remove from the oven and carefully place on a rack to cool. Hold the bread evenly while transferring to the rack or it may split apart near one of the eggs.