FOR BASIC SWEET DOUGH: In a large mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside. In a saucepan heat and stir milk, sugar, butter or margarine, and salt till mixture is warm (120 to 130 degrees F) and butter or margarine is almost melted. Add to flour mixture along with eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (about 1 hour). Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
FOR FILLING: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan melt the 1/3 cup butter or margarine. Stir in the brown sugar and corn syrup. Cook and stir just till blended. Divide syrup mixture evenly among two 9x12-inch round baking pans. Sprinkle nuts, and raisins if desired, evenly in the bottoms of the round baking pans. Set pans aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of the dough into a 12x8-inch rectangle. Brush each rectangle with half of the 3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine. In a small mixing bowl stir together granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture on top of each half of the dough. Roll up each rectangle, jelly-roll style, starting from one of the long sides. Pinch seams to seal. Cut each roll into 12 slices with heavy-duty thread. Place slices, cut-side down, in the prepared pans; they will fit snugly. Cover; let rise in a warm place till nearly double (about 30 minutes). Or, cover with oiled waxed paper, then with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.
If chilled, let stand, covered, for 20 minutes at room temperature. Puncture any surface bubbles with a greased wooden toothpick. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or till golden brown. Invert onto racks or a serving platter. Serve warm.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.