Place allspice and cinnamon in a spice or coffee grinder, and process until finely ground. Set aside.
Combine water, dash of salt, dash of sugar, and yeast in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Let stand for 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour to yeast mixture, stirring until well combined. Let stand 20 minutes.
Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at
medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time,
beating well after each addition. Stir in allspice mixture. Add
yeast mixture to butter mixture; stir with a whisk until well
combined. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Add 3 1/2 cups flour, about 1 cup at a time, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough
out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic
(about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1
tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands
(dough will feel tacky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray,
turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°),
free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press
2 fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen
Divide dough into 3 equal portions, shaping each portion into
a 14-inch-long rope. Place ropes lengthwise on a baking
sheet coated with cooking spray (do not stretch); pinch ends
together at one end to seal. Braid ropes; pinch loose ends to
seal. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Cover and let rise
45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg yolk, stirring with a
whisk. Brush half of yolk mixture over loaf. Let stand for 5
minutes. Repeat procedure with the remaining yolk mixture.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when
tapped. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
Use leftovers to make French toast.