If you ever come across a recipe that instructs you to feed your sourdough starter by first discarding a portion of it, throw out the recipe. How wasteful is it to toss off perfectly good flour, especially the fancy organic Central Milling stuff I buy from Kings Roost? Instead, I make a quick pita-like dough from it, which I keep around either in the refrigerator or freezer to make pizza, pita or, in this case, hand pies.
I haven’t measured out the precise amount of flour I need for turning starter into pita dough; I go by feel, and you can too. You’ll know it’s right when the dough starts to come together in your hands, and after a few good kneads you have a soft, smooth mass. It’s a good feeling. Try it once:
Start by taking 200 grams of sourdough starter and plopping it in a medium mixing bowl. Loosen with 100 grams of filtered water. Add a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of good olive oil, and stir well. Now add flour, mixing until everything comes together in a nice but somewhat shaggy ball. Scrape it all out onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour to create a cohesive but soft dough. Clean your bowl, smear it with olive oil, and plop the dough back in it. Cover and let rise until double. If your starter is active, this should take an hour or so in a warm place, since this dough is mostly starter.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and place a cast iron pan, baking stone or griddle inside. Take about a pound of chopped chard and 1/2 cup finely diced onion. Saute the onion in a little olive oil until translucent, add the chard and saute until it is cooked down but still bright green. Stir in 3/4 cup of crumbled feta and some fresh ground pepper. Let cool.
Turn out your dough onto a floured work surface and separate into pieces the size of a small fist. Roll out each piece using flour as needed, until you have a circle about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. Plop your filling down the center, fold over, crimp, brush with olive oil and dust with sumac or zaatar. Bake on the hot sheet or pan for about 10 minutes, until golden.