Put the warmed milk in a large bowl and sprinkle a big pinch of the sugar and all of the yeast overtop; set aside for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
Add the remaining sugar, eggs, orange zest, about half the flour and salt and beat until thick and sticky. Add the remaining flour and the butter, cut into pieces, and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic – it should be tacky, but not overly sticky. Stir or knead in the dry fruit.
Transfer to an oiled bowl, turn the dough to oil all over, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hours.
Meanwhile, butter 4-6 Weck jars, panettone moulds or a muffin tin. Punch the dough down and pull apart into pieces big enough to come halfway up the jars or tins; loosely cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside for another hour, until the dough rises slightly, making the containers about ¾ full. (Alternatively, slow the rise by refrigerating overnight; leave at room temperature for an hour before baking.)
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the tops with a little beaten egg and bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on size, or until deep golden. Cool in the pans on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Makes 2-10 loaves, depending on the size of your jars or pans.