Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Combine flour and shortening in mixing bowl. Work shortening pieces into flour with a pastry cutter until they are the size of small peas. Gradually stir in milk or buttermilk. Add only enough to moisten the flour and hold the dough together.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead gently two to three strokes. Using a light touch, pat or roll the dough to a 1 /4-inch thickness. Cut with a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, leaving as little dough between cuts as possible. Gather remaining dough and re-roll one time. Discard scraps after second cutting.
Place biscuits on a baking sheet with sides touching for soft Southern-style biscuits. If you prefer biscuits with crisp sides, place biscuits close together but not touching.
Bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot out of the oven. Yield: 12 biscuits