4.5 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees), divided
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour (give or take)
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 cup warm water and let sit about 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add the oil, egg, salt, 2 cups flour, and remaining sugar and water. Beat until smooth. Stir in 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 40 minutes.
Punch the dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide into 36 pieces (I usually make huge breadsticks and get about 18) . Shape each piece into a 6-in. rope. Place 2 in. apart on heavily buttered (I melt about 1/2 stick and spread it in the bottom) large baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
Bake at 400 for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with seasoning and parmesan if desired.