To prepare the polish or starter - Stir together the flour,water and yeast. in a mixing bowl until all of the flour in hydrated. The dough should be sticky and look like thick pancake batter. Cover the bowl and let it ferment at room temperature for 3-4 hours. The sponge should look foamy and bubbly. At this stage either you can use or you can refrigerate overnight to let the flavours mature ( I kept overnight) . This can be kept up to 3 days in refrigerator.
Bring the starter/Polish to room temperature. Stir together flour,salt,yeast, cinnamon,nutmeg, allspice, cloves and orange zest(if using instead of extracts) in a large mixing bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients well.
Add polish,the extracts,eggs,honey,oil and milk. Stir together all the ingredients until the dough forms a ball.
Sprinkle flour on a kitchen counter,transfer the dough to the counter and knead (mix on medium speed with dough hook). Add more milk or flour ( 1 tsp each time)(I had to add roughly 1 tbsp extra flour) till you get a soft but not sticky dough ball.Knead for 10 minutes. The dough should pass windowpan test.
Add the raisins and nuts(if using) to the dough and fold multiple times so that it is distributed evenly.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl.Coat the dough with oil by rolling.Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in room temperature for about 90 minutes or till it doubles in size.
Prepare a baking pan with parchment paper.Knead the risen dough for about 5 minutes to release any trapped air and from to a boule( Round shape).Transfer it to the prepared pan and loosely cover with a plastic wrap.
Proof at room temperature for about 60-90 minutes or until nearly double in size.
At the end of the rising period,pre-heat the oven to 350 degree.
Bake the loaf for about 35-40 minutes ,rotating the pan in between. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and registers 190 degree.It should make hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
To make the glaze, combine water and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil.Add honey and extract and turn off the heat. Brush the loaves with glaze and sprinkle sesame seed on top.
Transfer bread to a rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.