2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
4 cups warm milk (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup shortening
7 to 7 1/2 cups flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Melted butter or margarine (optional)
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, sugar, shortening and 4 cups flour; beat until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Add baking powder, baking soda, salt and enough remaining flour to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Turn onto a heavily floured surface; pat to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a biscuit cutter or drop by 1/4 cupsful onto greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush tops with butter if desired. Dough may be refrigerated up to 3 days. Punch down each day.
Yields about 5 dozen.