|Milk||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Unsalted butter||1⁄2 Pound (1 Cup, At Room Temperature)|
|All purpose flour||3 1⁄2 Cup (56 tbs)|
|Active dry yeast||1 Tablespoon (1 Package)|
|Sugar||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Warm water||1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs) (About 110 Degree Fahrenheit)|
|Egg yolks||8 Large|
|Vanilla bean||1 (8 Inches Long)|
|Chopped candied orange peel||1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)|
|Lemon glaze||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Rosebuds||4 Small (Fresh Or Candied For Decoration)|
In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, combine 1/4 cup of the milk and 2 tablespoons of the butter.
Bring to a boil, stirring.
At once, dump in 1/4 cup of the flour; remove from heat and stir vigorously until mixture is smooth and pulls away from pan sides.
Add egg and beat until thoroughly blended.
Let cool to lukewarm.
In a bowl, sprinkle yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar over warm water; let stand for about 5 minutes to soften yeast.
Stir yeast mixture into cooked mixture in pan.
Cover and let stand in a warm place until doubled and very foamy, about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat remaining butter with salt and remaining sugar until blended, then beat in egg yolks, a few at a time.
Split vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife; scrape out black seeds and add seeds to butter mixture.
(Place vanilla bean in a jar of sugar to make vanilla-flavored sugar.) Stir vodka and saffron (if used) into butter mixture, then stir in yeast mixture.
Mix in remaining 3 1/4 cups flour, adding remaining 1/4 cup milk at intervals.
Add orange peel.
Dough will be very soft.
Beat in 1 of the following ways.
With a heavy-duty mixer and dough hook.
Beat on medium speed until dough begins to pull fairly cleanly from sides of bowl, about 30 minutes.
Lightly oil or butter your hands; then rapidly pull handfuls of dough from bowl (a big bowl is easier to handle) and forcefully throw dough back in; continue until dough lifts as a whole lump when pulled from bowl, cleaning the bowl fairly well as it comes up.
Mixing by hand takes about 45 minutes.
Cover dough (mixed by either method) with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 2 to 2 1/2 hours (dough is slow to rise).
Line bottoms of two 46-ounce juice cans with rounds of baking parchment.
Then line sides of each can with parchment, extending it about 2 inches above can rim; secure with a paper clip.
(If parchment is not available, use wax paper; butter heavily and dust with flour.) Beat dough to expel air, then divide into 2 equal portions and scrape 1 portion into each parchment-lined can.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (dough should be within 1 1/2 inches of top rim of can), about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove plastic wrap.
Set cans upright on lowest rack of a 325° oven.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300° and continue to bake until a slender wooden skewer inserted into breads comes out clean, about 45 more minutes.
Let breads cool in cans for 10 minutes, then remove from cans and parchment.
Lay loaves horizontally and cradle them in folded towels to preserve their rounded shape; set on racks and let cool.
When loaves are cool, stand on end.
To store, wrap airtight and freeze; let thaw unwrapped.
Just before serving, spoon Lemon Glaze over tops of loaves, letting it drizzle down sides.
Decorate with rosebuds, setting them in glaze while it's still soft.
Slice loaves crosswise to serve.