Place the fresh or active dry yeast in a small bowl and add about half (or 120 ml) of the warm water. Stir gently until all the yeast is mixed in with the water. Set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes.
Place the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl, and stir with dry hands to mix well. Make a well in the centre by pushing the flour to the sides of the bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture, extra virgin olive oil (optional), and just enough of the remaining warm water to obtain a fairly sticky dough. The dough should feel sticky and moist to the touch and sticking only a little to your fingers or spoon. (Tip: Add the warm water little by little, and mix in with your hands or a long wooden spoon, until all the flour comes together as a sticky dough ).
Lightly dust counter top and hands with extra flour. Scrape all the dough out of the bowl onto the floured counter top. Shape into a firm, round ball.
Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes ( 'How to Knead Dough' is included under Recipe Notes below). Lightly flour the counter top and your hands if the dough starts to get too sticky. When the dough no longer sticks to your hands or the counter top, lift it up and bang it down hard a couple of times on the counter top, to develop the gluten.
The dough is ready when the surface is smooth and elastic, and show definite air bubbles trapped beneath the surface. It should spring back when pressed lightly with your fingertip. Place in a large bowl oiled with extra virgin olive oil and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside in a warm, dry place for 30 to 45 minutes, to rise.
Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 230 to 240 deg C (450 to 465 deg F). Place baking rack in the lower one-third of the oven.
When risen, flip the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured counter top (so that the surface of the dough is now in contact with the counter top surface, and the oiled bottom is facing up). Using floured fingertips, lightly press the dough into a round shape. Place the dough in the prepared pizza pan or on a large sheet of baking paper (if baking on a pizza stone). Then stretch and shape with your fingertips until it reaches the edges of the pan. If rolling out the dough, roll the dough to the size of the pan, then slide it into pan. (Tip: Do not worry about overworking or being too rough when working the dough, just make sure that it does not become too dry and crack. Also, be mindful that while you may stretch it out to any thickness, do not let it break).
Press down around the edges of the pan to create a border which will prevent the toppings from seeping off the pizza during baking. Lightly brush the border with some extra virgin olive oil to give it a nice colour and a slight crisp when it bakes.
Place your favourite toppings as desired. Most start with a layer of tomato sauce. Spread evenly with the back of a spoon to smooth. Then top with remaining ingredients. Drizzle with some olive oil all over (optional).
Let pizza rest for a few minutes before putting into the oven to bake. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until toppings have cooked and cheeses (if using) have melted and browned lightly.