How to Make It
Prepare the Sponge: Stir together milk, flour, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm (85°F) place, free from drafts, until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Prepare the Dough: Add sugar, oil, honey, whole eggs, 2 of the egg yolks, and 6 tablespoons of the water to Sponge, stirring until well combined. (Mixture may have a few lumps.) Add flour and salt. Using dough hook attachment, beat on low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl as necessary. Add raisins; beat on medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 1 to 2 minutes. Let dough rise in a warm (85°F) place, free from drafts, until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each dough portion into an 18-inch log. Cover and let rest about 10 minutes. Pinch ends of dough portions together at 1 end to seal. Braid dough; pinch loose ends to seal. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; tuck both ends of dough under. Whisk together remaining 2 egg yolks and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Brush dough with some of egg mixture; reserve remaining egg mixture. Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray, and let rise in a warm (85°F) place, free from drafts, until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake dough in preheated oven about 10 minutes; rotate pan. Brush dough with reserved remaining egg mixture, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Tent with aluminum foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and place on wire rack; cool completely, about 1 hour.