In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast on top of your really warm water with 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside until yeast is frothy. It will take between 10 and 15 minutes for the yeast to activate and look foamy. Then stir the yeast mixture well. Add ½ cup sugar, butter, salt, eggs, cinnamon (if using) and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. As dough thickens I usually just use my hands.
Turn your dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, around 7 minutes. Grease a big bowl with butter and coat dough in butter. I usually place dough in the center of the bowl, press down and flip it over. Cover with a warm, damp towel and let rise in a warm place or until doubled, about 1 hour. I like to leave the dough inside my cool, unheated oven. Do not leave the bread too much longer than one hour.
After an hour, remove the cloth and place your dough on to a lightly floured surface. Punch the dough down. and divide it into two equal pieces. As equal as possible. Knead ½ cup raisins into each half, if you want raisins in the dough too.
Roll each portion into a rectangle, about 10 inches by 16 inches long. Do not worry about being exact in the measurements. Just make sure it is a rectangle! Brush flattened dough generously with melted butter. In a small bowl combine cinnamon, brown sugar, nuts if using, and 1 to 1 ½ cups raisins. I like to use about 1 cup of raisins here because I always put raisins in the dough. Stir until blended. Sprinkle all over the top of your buttered dough leaving an edge of about ½ inch. Take a moment to lightly press down on the raisin mixture.
Tightly roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with at a narrow end. Pinch along the seam to seal up your loaves of bread. Prepare two 9x5 inch loaf pans with butter. Place each loaf, seam side down, into each pan. Cover with a warm, damp towel and let rise until doubled, between 30-40 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Remove cloth from bread pans and brush the loaves with melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes or until a nice golden brown. Remove from pans and allow bread to cool on top of a wire rack. Serve and enjoy!