Heat milk in a pot. Add margarine and stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm, then add yeast crumbles and let dissolve completely.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, vanilla and lemon zest. Add yeast milk and knead with dough hooks until a compact dough forms.
Cover the bowl with a lid or kitchen towel and let rise for at a warm place (I usually cover the bowl with a blanket and put a hot-water bag next to it) for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.
After resting, punch down the risen dough, divide in three parts and knead each third for a minute or so. Then roll into long snakes. Pinch the ends of the snakes together firmly and braid. Then again pinch ends together firmly.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 360° F (180° C).
Brush a generous amount of plant milk over the braid and sprinkle with shaved almonds (or coarse sugar) if desired.
Bake at 360° F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Enjoy with jam, vegan butter or as is. Keeps well, e.g. in a container for bread, for a few days.