Sift dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Measure shortening and cut into flour mixture with pastry blender, two knives or blending fork, until mixture looks like "meal." Stir in almost all the milk. If dough does not seem pliable, add the remaining milk. Use enough milk to make a soft, puffy dough easy to roll out. Knead on a light floured board.
Too much handling makes tough biscuits. Roll out 1/4-inch thick for thin crusty biscuits and 1/2-inch thick for thick biscuits. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, close together for biscuits with soft sides, an inch apart for biscuits with crusty sides. Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 450 degrees.