In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour, stirring with a whisk. Let stand 30 minutes.
Add 3 cups flour (you may want to add less, then add the rest as needed), oil, black pepper, salt and red pepper; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes) (I used my KitchenAid to do the kneading) ; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Knead in half of cheese; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Knead in remaining cheese.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85F), 45 minutes or until double in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down and roll into a 12 X 8-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface (*see note below).
Preheat oven to 450°F and sprinkle 1 tablespoon semolina (or cornmeal) onto each of 2 baking sheets (I placed parchment paper on the sheets first).
Cut dough in half lengthwise to form two (12X4-inch) rectangles, then cut each rectangle crosswise into 12 (1-inch-wide) strips. (I used a large mezzaluna, which made this step quick and easy.).
Working with 1 strip at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), gently roll each strip into a 15-inch-long rope. Be patient--if they are resistant, this will become easier as the gluten relaxes. And don't worry about trying to make them perfect--if they are, no one will believe you made them anyway. :).
Place 12 strips on each prepared pan. Cover and let rise 20 minutes.
Uncover and bake at 450F for 12 minutes (I baked a bit longer). Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
* Note: I used a wooden board and added no extra flour. I also added no flour to the surface I used to roll the breadsticks. If you've never made breadsticks or rolls, it may help to know that the dough needs a surface to "adhere" to as you are rolling them. This makes it much easier, as you can roll them without them just scooting around all over the place. The dough will quickly dry out at this point if it is overworked, or too much flour is added.