½ cup lukewarm water
6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1½ cups vegetable shortening
3 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 450°
Dissolve yeast and ½ teaspoon of sugar in lukewarm water in about a 2-cup bowl. Let stand. If the yeast doesn't bubble & foam after 5 min or so, either you killed it with too hot water or bad yeast. Dump it and retry.
In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal and stir in yeast and buttermilk. Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Roll out to 1/2 thick and cut using a 2 inch round cutter, or make into Parker House rolls. Place on baking sheets and cover with damp towls. Let rise one hour in a warm place.
Before putting in the oven, brush tops of biscuits with melted butter. Bake on middle rack of oven at 450° for 10-12 min. Makes roughly 3 dozen biscuits.
Make ahead tip: Dough may be covered and refrigerated as long as a week. Punch down periodically as it will rise a bit even when cold. Put cold dough in a big bowl and cover. Let come to room temp. before rolling a cutting.
Site contents, including photographs, are