Brioche au Fromage de Brebis aux Figues

This is what is known as a Poor Man’s Brioche – an enriched dough with butter and eggs but no where near as rich as the French classic. If you can’t find any other sort of sheep’s cheese Feta will do fine.

(A medium egg weighs about 55g – save the yolk of the second egg for egg wash)

Melt the butter. Cube the cheese and halve the figs.

Stir together the milk, starter, melted butter and egg in a mixing bowl; add the flour and salt, use your hands to stir till the flour is dampened then squeeze vigorously through your fingers until a dough is formed scraping down the bowl so that everything is incorporated; knead using your normal method. If you’re new to baking check out the Sourdough pdf under the Library Menu. Fold in the cheese and figs before your final knead. Try to keep the cheese cubes as intact as possible

Form into a rough ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover. Allow to ferment for about four hours stretching each hour for the first three hours. This is not essential but will improve the dough structure.

Alternatively ferment overnight in the fridge.

Oil a bread tin. Lightly flour your work surface and turn out the dough onto it. Stretch and press the dough out into a sort of rectangle: the near edge should be a little shorter than your bread tin and the far edge a little less wide than the near one.

Lay your thumbs along the far edge and roll the dough up into a cylinder towards you as tightly as you can manage with a soft dough such as this. Tuck the ends under slightly and roll the dough backwards and forwards on its seam to seal it. Drop the dough seam side down into the tin. Oil a piece of cling film and cover the tin.

Allow to prove for three to four hours. The one advantage of using a bread tin is that you can see when the dough has risen appreciably.

Preheat the oven to 210C.

Make an egg wash with the yolk of an egg and a drop of milk. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash and again half way through baking.

Bake for about 50 minutes in total reducing the temperature to 180C after 15 minutes.

Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.