Dissolve 1 pack of year in warm (room temperature) water in a small bowl. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
In a medium sauce pan, scald the milk so it is just hot and then turn off the heat and let it cool. You can also use the microwave for this and just heat it in 30 minute increments until it is hot to the touch.
In a mixer, add the shortening, sugar and salt. Mix with a paddle attachment for 2 minutes.
Add the milk and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Add egg and vanilla.
Add yeast and water mixture.
Switch to the hook attachment and start slowly adding the flour. Add a little bit at a time until it comes to a ball. This may take slightly less or more flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 4 minutes.
Place into a clean oiled bowl and allow it to double in size (1 hour - 1.5 hours).
On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick.
Using a cookie cutter, donut cutter or mason jar lid, cut the donuts. Cut a hole in the center (I used a icing tip).
Place donuts on a parchment paper lined tray.