In a bowl combine maple syrup, yeast and first of flour. In sauce pan heat juice and butter until almost melted. With mixer gradually beat liquid into yeast mixture. dry ingredients. Set aside egg white for brushing top of loaves. Add in egg yolk, remaining eggs, lemon peel, almond extract, and second flour (2) to make a thick batter. Stir in third part of flour (3) to make dough. Turn onto floured work surface and knead until smooth, continuing to add fourth flour (4). Knead at least 15 minutes.
Place in lightly oiled bowl, turning dough so top is oiled too. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough. Turn onto floured work surface, separate dough for loaves; cut dough for each loaf into 3 equal parts. Cover and let rest 15 minutes. Lightly oil two cookie sheets.
On floured work surface, roll each piece into a 24" length. Place three lengths together and braid; it comes out best if you begin in the middle and work toward each end. Shape into a ring, join the ends and pinch together. Repeat with each loaf. Cover rings with towels and let rise in warm place 1 hour.
Beat egg white; use pastry brush to brush over loaves. Top rings with almonds. Place in oven at 350 for 15 minutes, then change cookie sheet places. Bake about 15-20 minutes longer, or until tops are golden brown and bread makes thunking sound when tapped with knuckle.