Dissolve sugar in water and add yeast. Stir gently until disssolved (about 1 minute) Let stand until the yeast foams slightly (about 5 minutes) to insure that the yeast is effective.
Combine 3 cups of the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Pour in the yeast mixture and oil if you are using it.
Begin kneading the mixture, gradually adding enough of the remaining 1/4 cup flour so that the dough is no longer sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (another 10-15 minutes by hand). Shape dough into a ball and put in an oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it with the oil.
Let rise until doubled in bulk (45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours, depending on the yeast and the temperature).
Punch down the dough and shape into 1 or 2 pieces. The entire recipe will make one large (16") pizza or two small (12") pizzas.
Shape the dough either by hand or with a rolling pin, stretching out as necessary to achieve a thin dough. For a lighter crust, let the dough sit for a half hour after shaping before constructing pizza and baking.
1/4 cup olive oil for frying onions
6 cups thinly sliced onions (approximately 3 pounds)
6 garlic cloves
3 Tbs. fresh thyme or 1 Tbs. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
2 Tbs. oil for dribbling on top of pizza (optional)
1 Tbs. drained capers
1-1/2 Tbs. pine nuts
Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil and add the onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.
Cook, stirring occassionally, until most of the moisture has evaporated and the onion mixture is very soft, almost smooth, and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
Cover the dough with the onion mixture, sprinkle with capers and pine nuts, and drizzle with remaining olive oil if you are using it. Bake in pre-heated 500 degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. The baking time will vary depending on whether you bake on a stone, a screen or in a pan.
Be sure that your oven is well pre-heated before putting pizza in.