Special equipment: pizza peel, pizza stone
For the dough: Pour 1/2 cup warm water in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Let sit until foaming, 5 to 10 minutes. If it does not foam, the yeast is either dead or the water is too hot.
Add the remaining water. Add the flour and salt all at once and mix on low speed until the mixture comes together. Increase to medium speed and mix for about 8 minutes, stopping the mixer to feel the texture of the dough periodically. Add more flour, a spoonful at a time, if the dough feels sticky. The dough should be in a ball around the dough hook and it should look and feel smooth.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead a few times until elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
When ready to use, split the dough into 2 balls. Transfer to a small nonstick pan (a baking sheet or even a pizza stone will work as well). Gently push the dough into the desired shape, no more than 12 inches in diameter, or about 8 by 10 inches if making a square pizza. Don't make it too thin; a smaller diameter will lead to a thicker crust. If the dough is hard to work with and not keeping its desired shape, then the dough needs additional resting time. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then try again. Once the dough is in the desired shape, let it sit and rise while getting the toppings together.
For the tomato sauce: Mix together the tomatoes, basil, dried herbs, oil, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper. The sauce will cook on the pizza.
For assembly: Sprinkle the cheese onto the crust. If using a pan with sides, you can go all the way to the edge of the dough with the cheese. If using a pizza stone or unrimmed baking sheet, leave a little room around the edge to prevent melted cheese from running off the pan. Dollop the sauce randomly onto the pizza, staying away from the edges.
Bake in the top third of the oven until the cheese is fully cooked and the crust is browned, about 15 minutes. Bake the remaining crust with additional sauce and toppings.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.