Stir the active dry yeast and a teaspoon of granulated sugar into the lukewarm milk. Leave in a warm place for about 10-15 minutes until a bubbly foam appears on the surface of the milk.
Heat the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. It cannot be hot, just melted. Put the flour mixed with salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the egg yolk, the rest of the sugar, grated lemon zest, and melted butter. Pour in the milk mixture with activated yeast.
Make the dough: First, roughly mix all the ingredients in the bowl with a fork. Then dump the mixture onto a work surface, with a small handful of flour on the side. Process the dough with your hands and knead very thoroughly until smooth and elastic. It takes about five minutes; expect some physical labor! If the dough is too sticky, dip it a little in flour and work it in.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours. The dough should nearly double in volume.
Knead the dough briefly with your hands and divide it into six equal parts. Roll each piece into a strand about one inch (2.5 cm) thick, about nine to ten inches (22-25 cm) long.
Make a knot from the strand: Place one end of the strand over the center and create an opening. Push the same end through the hole so that a bit of the end sticks out. This end will form the tail of the bird. Turn the knot over; the other end will create the head of the bird.
Now we have a knot (the bird's body) laid head side up on the work surface. Use the tines of a fork to flatten the tail; at the same time, make decorative notches in the tail.
Carefully transfer the birds to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Stick two small raisins to the sides of the head like the eyes. Press them firmly; the dough tends to push the raisins out as it rises. At the spot where the head touches the body, stick a small piece of almond deeply to form a beak.
Cover the birds with a clean tea towel and let them rise for a second time in the warmth for another hour. If the strands of dough have deformed while shaping the bird, these will form into a smoother shape after the second rise.
Preheat the oven to 338°F (170°C) and set it to upper and lower heat. Brush the bird thoroughly with the egg white leftover from making the dough. Bake the birds for 15 minutes.