Start a day in advance if possible. The longer the pizza dough rests the better it stretches and rises. Place the yeast in an electric mixing bowl with a bread hook attachment. Pour 1/4 cup of warm water over the yeast and swirl. Allow the mixture to foam for 10 minutes. (Make sure the water is just above room temperature, not hot, or you will kill the yeast.)
Then add the remaining 1/2 cup of water and salt. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add 2 cups of bread flour. Allow the mixer to run until the flour is well combined and the hook is kneading the dough. The dough should be very sticky, but still firm enough to pick up. Add a little more flour if needed. Let the mixer knead the dough for another 5-10 minutes.
Cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rise for 2 hours. Once the dough has doubled in size dump it out on a floured work surface and cut it into two 8-ounce pieces. Roll the ends under to create round balls. Then wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, if possible.
For the tomato sauce:
Place a sieve over a mixing bowl. Drain the tomatoes. Discard the tomato juices from the can. Then press the tomatoes through the mesh strainer to make a thin sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir. Then taste, and season the sauce again if needed. (If in a hurry, place the drained tomatoes in the blender and puree.)
Preheat the oven to 550 degrees F, or a grill to 650-800 degrees F. Place a pizza stone in the oven (or on the grill) to preheat.
Prep the crusts:
Using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to 12 to 13-inch circles. You can also use your hands to gently stretch the dough. Sprinkle cornmeal on two flat baking sheets and place the dough circles on the pans.
Top the pizzas:
Use a ladle to spoon tomato sauce onto the pizza dough. Spread the sauce in a thin even layer, leaving a 1-inch rim around the edges.
Slice the mozzarella balls into ¼ inch rounds. Arrange the mozzarella slices around the pizza crusts. Then sprinkle 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese on top of each pizza. Gently stretch the pizzas back out, being careful lot leave a good fluffy edges around the rims. This helps create the thin bottom and raised edge.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over each pizza. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake the pizzas:
Slide the pizza off the baking sheet onto the hot stone. (The cornmeal helps with sliding.)
Bake for 5-7 minutes until the edges are golden. If grilling, cook for 3-5 minutes. (Cook one at a time if you only have one baking stone.)
Once the pizza crusts are golden and the cheese is melty, remove from the oven and arrange fresh basil leaves over the top. Cut and serve.
In a hurry? Use pre-made pizza dough from the freezer section or deli.Leftover pizza will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days.