Pour the first 1/4 Cup of water into a medium bowl and add the sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the water mixture, stirring once to blend and let sit for 5 minutes until the top is bubbly and the yeast has bloomed. Stir in the remaining warm water and the oil. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the water and oil mixture to it. Stir, adding enough flour to make a soft dough that will pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it is too dry, add a little water a tbls at a time.
Turn the dough out on a well-floured work surface, sprinkle the top with a little additional flour. Knead until it become very springy, elastic and very smooth. It should be light in weight, if it is heavy, you have use too much flour and it will not raise properly. Form into a smooth ball and let rest on the work surface while you wash and clean the large bowl. Spray with a non-stick spray. Put the ball of dough into the bowl and turn it over to get some of the spray on the top. Cover with plastic wrap or a warm, damp, clean dishtowel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft free place until double in volume, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
If the dough rises before you are ready, punch it down in the bowl by kneading making sure all of the air is gone. Turn it over and reshape it into a ball and let rise again. If the top is dry, use a little olive oil to grease it. You can punch the dough down and cover the bowl and keep the dough refrigerated for up to two days before letting it rise at room temperature.
For a thin, crisp pizza crust punch the dough down and turn out and spread over a pizza pan or baking sheet or a bakers peel. Cover with filling and topping, baking at once.
For thicker, softer pizza crust punch the dough down and turn out shaping as above and then cover lightly with a clean dishtowel. Let rise about 30 minutes before covering with filling and topping.
Makes enough dough for one 12 to 14 inch round pizza, two 7 to 8- inch round pizzas or one oblong pizza, or one dozen appetizer-sized pizzas.
From Pizza Cookery by Ceil Dyer.