Place the flour, water, fresh yeast and salt into the bowl. Knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes at low speed, then for 10 minutes at high speed. Around 2 minutes before the end of the kneading time mix in the butter. Switch off the machine, add the fig pieces and then mix in briefly at low speed so as not to break them.
Kneading by hand
Put the flour on a work surface or in a mixing bowl and make a large well in the centre. Pour in half of the water, the fresh yeast and salt. Mix well, then add the rest of the water and blend until all the flour has been incorporated. Add the butter and knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. This may take up to 10 minutes. Towards the end of the kneading process gently add the figs.
Shape the soft dough into a ball and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise for 90 minutes, by which time the dough will have increased in volume.
Dust the work surface with some flour. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and shape them into balls. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, use the palm of your hand to flatten it gently into a rough oval. With the long side facing you fold it in half to create a plump oval shape and gently seal the edges together. Shape the other 3 loaves the same way.
Place the loaves on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to proof for 1 hour.
Place another baking tray with with high sides on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 230 C / Gas 8. Score each loaf with a delicate criss cross pattern. Just before putting the loaves in the oven, pour 50g water onto the preheated baking tray that you put in the bottom of the oven. Bake until golden on top, about 20 minutes.
Remove the loaves from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve toasted or cold with butter or cream cheese.