Dissolve yeast in warm water with 2 Tbsp. of the sugar. Set aside while mixing remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the large bowl of a food processor. Add shortening, cut into pieces, and pulse on and off, scraping as needed, to incorporate. (Without a food processor, cut shortening into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers until mixture is in fine particles.)
Add buttermilk and yeast and mix until mixture resembles yeast dough. Make biscuits or place dough in a covered bowl in refrigerator and use as needed.
To make biscuits: Roll out portions of dough on lightly floured surface until 1/2-inch thick. Cut with 2-inch biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass. Place biscuits on a greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with melted butter. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour. (Some cooks skip the rising step and bake the biscuits immediately.)
Bake at 425 degrees 10-15 minutes or until brown. Makes about 2 1/2-3 dozen biscuits.
Notes from Mother: Do not double recipe. Food processor works great. Dry buttermilk is fine.
This recipe was submitted by one of our readers and has not been tested by our food editors. We are not responsible for errors in this recipe, but if you find one, please let us know.