Basic Biscuits: Sift dry ingredients; rub in the shortening as lightly as possible with fingers until just blended. Have milk as cold as possible, mix with flour to form a soft dough.
Mix with a flexible knife rather than a spoon, as the steel blade is colder than a spoon and also because the knife cuts and mixes more thoroughly.
Turn out onto a well floured board; pat to 3/4" thick. Cut into rounds; put on a baking pan, being sure they do not touch. Bake at 425° F 12-14 minutes.
Sweet Rolls: Make biscuits into a loaf; let raise. Roll out 1/4" thick; spread with a thick layer of butter, cover with sugar. Roll up and slice 1" thick. Let raise, bake at 350° F 20-25 minutes.
Cheese Biscuits: Make Basic biscuits, adding cheese to the dough. Bake the same way.
Parker House Rolls: Make biscuits except use 2/3 cup milk; add sugar. Roll out 1/3" thick, cut into rounds, brush with butter, crease across centers; fold in half. Bake as directed.
Very little handling because manipulation destroys their lightness. If "biscuits" are not allowed to touch each other in the pan, they will be lighter and more delicate than when placed close together.Servings: