7 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into tbsp. pieces and softened
6 tbsp. granulated sugar
3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups golden raisins
1 tsp. finely grated fresh orange or lemon zest
About 20 whole blanched almonds (1/2 ounces) (optional, for decoration)
1 tbsp. confectioners sugar
Stir together yeast and water in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
Heat Smith’s milk with 6 tbsp. butter and granulated sugar over low heat. Stir continuously until mixture is warm, butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
Sift together flour and salt into bowl of standing mixer. Make a well in flour and add yeast mixture. Add warm milk in a slow stream, mixing at low speed with paddle attachment. Increase speed to medium and beat in eggs 1 at a time, then add raisins and zest. Continue to beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. (Dough will be very sticky.)
Butter kugelhopf (bundt) pan with remaining tbsp. butter. Put 1 almond in each section of pan (if desired), then evenly spoon in dough (it will be very elastic). Cover with oiled plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and let dough rise in a warm place until it fills the pan, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Remove towel from pan, and gently peel off plastic wrap. Bake on middle rack for 15 minutes, then loosely cover with foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more until golden and a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 2 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Dust with confectioners sugar.