Oversize breadsticks, arranged in celery glasses, make delicious table decorations.
In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and yeast in 1/4 cup warm (105 degrees) water. Let rest for 5 to 6 minutes until creamy.
Place 5 1/2 cups flour and the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and stir to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add yeast mixture, oil, and 2 cups lukewarm water. Stir until the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup flour if dough is too sticky. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Punch down dough, transfer to a lightly floured surface, and divide dough in half, keeping one half covered while working. Pat each half into a 1/2-inch-thick 6-by-12-inch rectangle.
Sprinkle each rectangle of dough with 1 tablespoon salt or seeds, and cut each rectangle lengthwise into 12 strips (make each of them 12 by 1/2 inches). Lightly oil four baking sheets. (Alternatively, use two baking sheets, and keep half of dough covered with cloth while proceeding.)
Pick up each piece of dough by the ends, and stretch to the length of the baking sheet. Place sticks 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets; bake until light golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Bread sticks will keep for several days stored in an airtight container.