In a bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar, salt and oil; stir until dissolved. Add 2 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide into 12 portions. Using your hands, roll each portion into a 10-in. x 1/2-in. strip. Place 1 in. apart on a greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Let rise, uncovered, until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
Beat egg white and water; brush over breadsticks. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Place baking sheet on middle rack of oven; place a large shallow pan filled with boiling water on the lowest rack. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Brush again with egg white. Bake 5 minutes more or until golden brown.
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