Combine water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit until the yeast is bubbling.
Stir in one cup of flour, then the olive oil and salt. Add another 4 1/2 c flour, mixing with a large spoon until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and holds together.
Sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of flour on your kneading surface. Turn the dough out and knead it until it feels cohesive. Let it rest while you clean and grease the bowl for rising. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and spongy.
There are three options for rising: regular, slow, and non. Slow means making the dough in the morning, and resting it in the fridge until evening. For regular, or slow, the dough should double in size. For a no-rise dough, let the dough rest 5-10 minutes.
The original recipe calls for using a rolling pin to shape the dough, but this doesn't always work as well for some people. This recipe makes either two thick-crust or three thin crust 12 inch pizzas, or 4 nine inch pizzas.
A good shaping method is to flatten a ball of dough and put both hands under it with fingers interlaced. By pulling fingers apart, turn the dough on top of them, and stretch slowly and evenly. Alternate which ball of dough is being stretched - don't stretch one all the way at once.
For a crunchy crust, sprinkle corn meal on whatever surface the crust is going to be baked on. For a softer crust, grease the baking sheet or stone. Brush the top with olive oil to prevent the sauce from soaking through the crust.
For a really crispy crust, bake at 475 for 10 minutes before decorating. Otherwise, bake as soon as it's decorated or let it rise again for 15-30 minutes before baking. The pizza should go on the bottom rack of the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. Check at the 5 or 10 minute mark and lower the temp to 450 if the pizza cooks too fast.