Heat water in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds, until warm (around 110°F/43°C). You should be able to stick your finger in it and not feel too much of a difference.
Add 2 teaspoons of sugar and yeast to the water and stir gently until combined. Set aside for 5 minutes until it's frothy on top. If it does not get frosty, do this step over with a fresh packet of yeast.
Combine milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat. Do the finger test again. It should be warm (around 110°F/43°C), but not hot. Then add this milk mixture to the frothed yeast mixture.
Whisk together remaining sugar, flour, spices, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Pour the yeast mixture along with the orange zest and raisins into the flour. Stir together until combined and no large lumps of flour remain.
Knead the dough. Do this by hand on a lightly floured surface for up to 10 minutes. Using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, knead the dough for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic (should spring back when pressed and won't break when stretched).