1. Preheat oven to 425*F.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
3. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.
4. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.
My Note: I do not substitute shortning for the butter or margarine, better flavor. For those who didn't get the desired results -- Try these tips: The instructions say to knead 14-15 TIMES, NOT 14-15 minutes! The object is to handle the dough as little as possible. 1.Don't overmix the dough once you add the milk and only pat together (no real "kneading" or they will be tough). 2.only add the amount of milk you need, some days i have to use it all and then others I have a little left in the cup. 3. make sure the butter is cold 4.can brush with melted butter before and/or after baking for added softness and flavor and 5. can place closer together if yours still aren't soft. If you're new to biscuits, remember - any time you make biscuits (or scones or anything else that uses baking powder or soda to rise) you want to gently mix the dough JUST until the ingredients are all mixed-- don't maul it or knead it. The more you handle your dough the more the gluten develops and the tougher your biscuits (or pie crust, etc.) will be.
The only drawback was that they were bland and definitely had a slight baking powder taste. I made them a second time and substituted cultured buttermilk powder (4 TBS Saco brand) + 1 Celsius water in place of the milk; dropped the baking powder back to 2 tsp; and added 1/2 tsp baking soda. Oh my goodness -- perfection -- so flavorful and soft and fluffy! Absolutely the best I've ever made or eaten - Hope these tip's help and thank you so much doing.
I do know that the barometer affects how your biscuits turn out, (works the same with anything with yeast, such as bread) so, if it's raining or very humid, they won't rise as well. If it's hot and dry, they should rise beautifully. So I kind of go by that when I am adding the liquid and flour (amounts). After you've made enough biscuits, you can tell how their going to turn out by how the (uncooked) dough looks and feels. I was thinking about the post that said they turned out dry on the outside and moist inside, if they seem very hard, then I would think possibly, they were cooked at too high a temperature and/or were left in too long. Because my oven is very hot, I always turn it down by 25 degrees, and never assume that the time stated is going to be "perfect" for my oven, so I checked these after 10 minutes, and then watched them 2 to 3 minutes after. Anyway, you should enjoy these.