In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Grate your butter using a cheese grater and stir into the flour mixture OR cut butter into small pieces and use a pastry cutter to cut the fat into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal or sand.
Gradually pour in the buttermilk or milk, stirring until the dough just comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a clean countertop and form it into a ball.
Press the dough flat until it is 1-inch thick. Use a circle biscuit cutter or a drinking glass to cut out your biscuits. Combine leftover scraps and continue re-pressing and cutting until all dough is used.
Place cut biscuits on an un-greased baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, until the tops are nicely browned. Brush the tops with melted butter, if desired.
Keep your butter or shortening as cold as possible. Place it into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before using in the recipe for extra flaky results.
Handle the dough with your hands as little as possible.
Work quickly to keep your dough cold. If you need to, pop the formed biscuits into the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes to chill before baking.