To proof yeast: mix packet of yeast into warm water and stir slightly. Wait and watch until yeast begins multiplying (it looks like a bubble of dough rising to the surface and growing as other bubbles appear next to it). If your yeast does not "proof" within a minute or two, add a teaspoon of sugar and give it a few more minutes.
To speed up rising time: place mixing bowl or baking sheet on top of (NOT IN!) a warm oven or place by a warm window. A little heat will make the dough rise more quickly.
To use as pizza dough, follow steps 1-3 (pressing especially firmly into your pizza pan), then add toppings as desired. Bake until cheese is bubbling and crust is lightly brown, ~20-25 minutes. One recipe will make 2 small to medium pizzas (depending on how thick you make your crust).