Dissolve yeast and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar in warm water, stirring well; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add 1 cup flour; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Combine remaining flour, 3/4 cup sugar, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl; stir well. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add lemon peel, citron, currants, raisins, and pecans; stir well.
Dissolve saffron in boiling water; add milk, and cool to lukewarm (105° to 115°). Stir milk mixture and eggs into flour mixture. Add yeast mixture; mix well.
Spoon batter into 2 well-greased 8 1/2- x 4 1/2- x 3-inch loaf pans. Cover and repeat rising procedure 1 hour. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove bread from pans, and cool on wire racks.