In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar, salt and 2 cups flour; mix thoroughly. Gradually add remaining flour until dough begins to form a ball and pull away from the side of the bowl.
Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Put dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top of dough. Cover bowl with clear plastic or a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place (about 80 degrees) until double, about 1 hour.
Lightly grease baking sheet or French bread pan and sprinkle with corn meal. Punch down dough and place on lightly floured board; knead to squeeze out air bubbles. Shape dough into an oblong loaf. With a sharp knife, make 3 diagonal cuts in top of loaf; place on prepared pan. Let rise, uncovered, until double, about 45 minutes. Before baking, brush top of loaf with 2 teaspoons of water for a crispy crust. Or, for a shiny crust, combine egg white and 2 teaspoons of water and brush top of loaf.
While bread is rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees. To ensure a crisp crust, spray oven walls with water or place a shallow pan of hot water in the bottom of oven while baking bread. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan; place on wire rack to cool. Makes 1 loaf.