In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, sugar, and half the flour. Stir to combine. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and on low speed add in the remaining flour, salt, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 to 6 minutes, or until smooth and soft. If the dough is really sticky, add in another tablespoon or two of flour.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, at least 1 hour. OR place the dough in a large plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours at room temperature. Proceed with the recipe.
Coat a 9 by 13-inch pan with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Put the dough onto the pan and begin pressing it out with your fingertips to fit the size of the pan. Coax and stretch the dough to fit the entire pan, or just about. Spread your fingers to make little holes all the way through the dough.
Cover the dough with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Brush the focaccia with the olive oil on the pan. Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the dough. Reserve the remaining sauce for another use (it freezes pretty well). Top with the cheese and other desired toppings. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting and serving.