Mix ½ c. water, yeast and sugar. Set aside.
Add shortening and salt to 2 c. hot water; cool until lukewarm. Add yeast mixture then gradually add flour until soft dough.
Knead until smooth, about 10 to 12 minutes. (I use my Bosch mixer to do this.)
Place in greased bowl, cover with damp cloth, let rise until doubled.
Divide in half. Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Shape loaves into narrow rolls, the length of the sheet. Slash top several times with sharp knife. (I do this about 4 different spots across the loaf.)
Brush with egg white/water mixture.
Let rise until double.
Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned, brushing with egg white/water mixture after 15 minutes of baking.