Sprinkle the yeast into a medium bowl containing 1 1/2 cups warm water (100 to 115 degrees F) and stir until yeast dissolves. Let the yeast activate for 2 to 5 minutes. Add salt and 2 cups of flour and stir until blended. Add another 1 1/2 cups of flour and blend until too stiff to stir with a spoon.
Cut dough in half to get 2 (18-ounce) (1 ounce per inch) pieces. If you like a thick crust, increase the amount of dough per inch or reduce the size of the pizza to a 14 or 16-inch pie.
With the dough in both hands knead (turn it inside itself so knuckles touch) to get some air pockets out and to get a round shape. Knead about 7 times. (Don't knead too hard or the dough will rip at the top). At the bottom of the dough ball seal it by twisting the dough so that it is round on top and flat and sealed on the bottom.
Place the dough in a clean bowl (if dry, sprinkle with a little water), and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit for between 30 to 60 minutes until it almost doubled in size.
Put the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour after it rises to gain elasticity.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Put the dough on a floured surface and push down on it with your fingertips to get rid of any bubbles. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to the size you choose.
Transfer the dough to an oiled pizza pan or baking sheet. Or if you have a baking stone, sprinkle wooden pizza peel with flour, place dough on top and transfer directly to the stone.
Add sauce, cheese, and toppings as desired. Keep toppings an inch away from the edge of the pie. Cook pizza for approximately 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Luigi, chef and owner at Pizzeria Luigi, San Diego, CA
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