Making and Shaping Biscuits

Combine all dry ingredients with a fork. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut shortening into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Make a well in the center of the crumb mixture. Pour in the liquid all at once and mix with a fork just until dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture begins to cling together.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for as many times as recipe directs.

Roll dough evenly to 1/2-in. to 3/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter, using a straight downward motion; do not twist cutter.

Place biscuits on a baking sheet. Place 1 to 1-1/2 in. apart for biscuits with crusty sides or almost touching for softer-sided biscuits.

Gently gather trimmings into a ball. Do not knead. Roll and cut out as in Step 4.