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1. In large mixing bowl combine 1-1/2 cups flour and yeast; set aside.
2. In medium saucepan heat butter, the 1/4 cup milk, water, sugar, and salt over medium heat until very warm (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F) and butter is almost melted. Add butter mixture, eggs, and orange peel to flour mixture. Beat on low until combined; beat on high 3 minutes. With wooden spoon stir in raisins and as much remaining flour as you can.
3. Turn out dough on lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour for moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes). Place in greased bowl; turn to grease surface. Cover; let rise in warm place 1 hour or until nearly doubled in size.
4. Punch down dough; turn onto work surface. Cover; let rest 5 minutes. Equally divide dough in three; roll each to a 26-inch length. Lay side by side 1 inch apart; braid. Pinch each end of braid together. Transfer to large greased baking sheet. Shape in ring and pinch both ends together. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise 40 minutes, dough will rise slightly.
5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly brush bread ring with milk. Place a foil ball or oven-safe glass measure or jar in center to preserve shape. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven; cool. Place on platter; cut into slices. Serve with apricot jam. Makes 8 to 10 servings.