A little side note, you need 3-4 hours to make this start to finish. Yes, there are quick pizza dough recipes out there and they simply do not compare. Plan ahead for this, it's worth it and after a few times of making it you won't even think twice about it. Also, try my pizza sauce recipe, it's quick and very tasty: http://inbettyskitchen.blogspot.com/2008/11/easy-pizza-sauce.html
THE SPONGE (Sounds intimidating, but it’s not)
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (check the date on your package, if it’s old it won’t rise and that’s always a disappointment.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 ½ cups warm water (about 80 degrees)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ¼ cups bread flour (Use the bread flour, all-purpose does not have the protein level you need to develop the chewy consistency that makes this dough so good.)
Place the yeast in a medium bowl (you can use the bowl from your mixer) and add the water and sugar, stirring to dissolve the yeast. Allow the yeast to rest for about 5 minutes, until it turns creamy. Stir the oil into the mixture and then gradually stir in the flour, mixing until well incorporated. Now it’s ready to go through it’s first rise, just scrape down the sides of bowl, cover, and let the sponge rest in a warm place (about 85 degrees) for about 1 ½ hours, or until the sponge is very bubbly and has risen to about double its volume. I have found the best place to let my dough rise is in the oven. I turn the oven light on and it warms the oven just enough to create the perfect environment for the dough to rise.
2 to 2 ¼ cups bread flour
2 to 3 teaspoons of salt (depending on your taste)
Deflate the sponge which will be sticky and loose, and fix the mixer with a dough hook. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt to the sponge and mix on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium and, if the dough isn’t coming together nicely and cleaning the sides of the bowl (look below for pictures of this), sprinkle in a little more flour by spoonfuls. Continue to knead on medium speed for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Although the dough may remain moist and a little sticky, you should be able to grip it without having it stick uncomfortably to your fingers. Now the pizza dough is ready for the second rise. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl, turn the ball of dough over so that its entire surface is moistened with oil, cover, and allow to rest in a warm place for 1 ½ hours, or until it has doubled in bulk and holds an impression for a few seconds when you prod it gently with your finger. It is then ready to stretch out into pizzas; you should get two nice sized crusts with this pizza dough recipe.
When baking the pizza, bake at 450 to 475 for around 15 minutes.
This is the sponge after the first rise, I sprinkled in the salt before I took the picture.
This is not pulling away from the bowl yet, needs more flour.
This is pulling away from the bowl and ready for the second rise.
In the bowl, before it's risen:
It's risen! Ready to make into pizzas with your favorite toppings.