Basic Bread Dough
Place the warm water in a warm mixing bowl and add the yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast, and let stand 3 minutes. Add the salt and the sugar and stir to combine. Add the flour and the olive oil and mix, using your hands until the dough comes together in a form that you can knead into a ball without the dough sticking to your fingers.
Wash and dry your hands. Remove the dough ball from the mixing bowl and place on a smooth cutting board. Knead the dough, occasionally dusting it with a teaspoon of flour at a time, until you form a smooth, firm, homogenous ball, about 15 minutes.
Place the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen cloth. Place the bowl in a warm area (like above the refrigerator) to rise until the dough is doubled in size, about 2 hours. At this time, punch the dough down, and divide it into 4 equal pieces.
The dough is now ready for use.
Recipe courtesy Mario Batali