Proof yeast: Combine warm water with yeast and sugar. After 5 to 10 minutes, the mixture should be frothy. Mix in the salt and olive oil.
Mix in flour: Mix the wet mixture into the flour in a large bowl. The dough will start to get difficult to mix with a spoon and eventually form a loose ball. Transfer the dough ball onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead: Knead by hand (8 minutes) or with the bread hook of a standing mixer (5 minutes), adding additional flour a tablespoon at a time if dough is really sticking to the surface. Pizza dough has been kneaded enough when it is smooth and passes the finger poke test (when you poke it with your finger, the dough should slowly spring back).
Rise: Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place* and let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.
Divide: Divide the dough into two balls, then cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. If you don’t plan on making 2 pizzas, you can freeze one of the balls now**.
Roll: Roll pizza dough directly onto lightly flour- or cornmeal-dusted parchment paper (12 inches for traditional crust, 14 for thin crust). Brush dough with olive oil then top with your favorite ingredients
Bake: Preheat oven to 475°F (250°C). Place your empty pizza pan in the oven while it preheats to make the pan hot (hot pan = crispy crust). Bake on lowest rack for 10 to 12 minutes, then move to upper rack and broil for 2 minutes.
*To help you dough rise faster, heat your oven for just a few minutes to get it warm. Turn it off then set your dough inside the oven. The warm (but not hot!) temperature will help the pizza dough rise more quickly!**If you don’t use the second ball, freeze it! Lightly coat the surface of the ball with oil, then wrap in plastic wrap or place in freezer-safe bag. When you want to use it, let thaw in the refrigerator (12 hours), then let rest, covered, on counter right before use (30 minutes).