Total Calories: 3,914
* At least 3 days before using: In a 1-quart saucepan, combine milk, shortening, sugar and salt. Over low heat, stir until shortening melts and sugar dissolves. Cool. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. In a large mixer bowl, combine milk mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour beat at low speed until smooth. Gradually add remaining all-purpose flour, beatingat low speed and then mixing with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a stiff dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead for 1 minute.
Place dough in a greased bowl turn dough to coat surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until almost doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute.
Divide dough into two portions. Cover one portion with a bowl. Cut other portion of dough into three equal portions and pull each into a 28-inch rope. Place the three ropes side by side and braid loosely.
Grease the outside of an ovenproof custard cup. Place upside down on a large greased baking sheet. Gently lift braided dough to baking sheet and form a wreath around cup, overlapping and pinching ends together. Repeat with second portion of dough. Twist each piece of wire to form a 3-inch loop and insert one into each wreath to form a hanger. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until almost doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until wreath sounds hollow when bottom is tapped with fingers. If wreaths brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil after 15 minutes of baking. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.
Sprinkle about 1 cup of the birdseed on each of two clean baking sheets. In a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, bring syrup to a boil and boil for 1 minute remove from heat. Brush back of each wreath with syrup and place on birdseed. Brush top and sides of wreaths with syrup and generously sprinkle with birdseed. Let dry on wire racks for several days. Place each wreath in a mesh bag and decorate with greens. Hang outdoors.
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