To make a basic pizza dough, dissolve a packet of yeast and 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar in a cup of warm water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and knead in 2 1/4 cups of flour. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes.
For best results, use water that is 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and let the yeast and sugar rest in the water for 10 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. When the yeast mixture foams, it is time to add the salt and oil. Stir in as much of the flour as possible before transferring the dough to a floured surface for kneading. Continuing kneading in more flour, up to 2 1/2 cups total, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Coat the kneaded dough with olive oil, and place it in a greased bowl for rising. Cover the bowl with a clean towel or a sheet of plastic wrap, and set it in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Prepare the pizza pan or baking sheet by lightly greasing it and sprinkling it with cornmeal. Spread the prepared dough evenly over a pan leaving the edge slightly thicker than the center.