Mmmmm....Fresh Baked Breakies & Cakies - Courtesy of AI
January 7, 2021 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Everyone truly is baking their way through the pandemic, even AI. The machine learning team over at Google have developed two new recipes.

In an attempt to understand what exactly "makes cookies crunchy, cake spongy and bread fluffy" the team collected hundreds of recipes and developed two stripped down recipes that tried to capture the essence of key baked goods.

Behold the "Cakie" a hybrid that combines the crispiness of a cookie with the crumb of a cake and the "Breakie" that is like a mutant muffin.
posted by brookeb (30 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
These are certainly better than Watson's early AI recipe efforts, though I think a lot more human intervention went into these than into Watson's early efforts.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:25 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


I think I've made "breakies" by accident when trying to make cookies from scratch. One minute you're making chocolate chip cookies, then you're making peanut butter cookies because you forgot an ingredient and before you know it there's flour involved and its all awfully wet but it bakes into some totally edible muffiny cakey cookies
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:42 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


though I think a lot more human intervention went into these than into Watson's early efforts.

Yeah, for this to be real ML, the system itself would have to test how "good" the cookies/bread/whatever ended up for each attempted recipe. "Better" and "Worse" recipes would get weighted accordly, and eventually you'd get new recipes that resulted in great stuff.

Humans judging the generated end product doesn't count, although sometimes you just want to eat baked goods at work lol.
posted by sideshow at 10:53 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Also for this to be a real internet recipe, the AI has to write a 2000-word personal essay that you have to scroll past to get to it.
posted by oulipian at 10:57 AM on January 7 [58 favorites]


Prior work, from 2017, also Google: Bayesian Optimization for a Better Dessert. This used a hyper-parameter optimization algorithm to incrementally improve a cookie recipe based on human ratings in google cafes.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:59 AM on January 7


And here's the 2017 recipe, for ease of reference:

For 20 cookies:
All purpose flour - 167 grams (approx. 4/3 cups)
Milk chocolate chips - 245 grams (approx. 4/3 cups)
Baking soda - 0.6 tsp
Salt - 0.5 tsp
Cayenne powder - 0.125 tsp
White sugar - 87.5 grams (approx. 1/2 cup)
Medium brown sugar - 40 grams (approx. 1/4 cup)
Whole egg - 25.7 grams (approx. one small egg)
Butter - 81.3 grams (approx. 3/4 stick)
Orange extract - 0.125 tsp
Vanilla extract - 0.75 tsp

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 °F (163 °C) and prepare a baking sheet lined with silicone or parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugars until creamy.
Add the eggs, vanilla, orange extract, salt, baking soda, and pepper; mix.
Add flour and mix until combined.
Add the chocolate chips and mix just enough to evenly distribute them.
Using a medium-sized cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, place mounds of dough on the baking sheet. Leave some space for the cookies to spread out.
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until slightly browned on top.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:01 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


As a stay-at-home AI, I'm very careful about the ingredients that go into the food I make for my researchers! This recipe idea came to me after my last training dataset, and you can read all about it in my upcoming on-demand print cookbook [[amazon_referral_link]]
...
posted by sysinfo at 11:02 AM on January 7 [18 favorites]


Where can I sign up to bake and test AI generated recipes? I think I might have a knack for that.
posted by kathrynm at 11:21 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Interesting that "banana" was a feature the model decided was important in deciding whether something was a cake, cookie, or bread (more important than fat, water, milk, and baking powder). As far as I can tell, their "Features" were about whether the ingredient was in the recipe, with no consideration of relative amount. I'm thinking that might be a reflection of the recipe set (of course the whole model is a reflection of the training set, but ...).
posted by achrise at 11:22 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Looks like they've just invented scones and bannock. Deep AI's secretly Scottish, isn't it?

I wish someone could've sneaked Edward Lear's Nonsense Cookery (cw: imaginary victorian animal cruelty in the last one) in so the recipes would've ended up terribly strange.
posted by scruss at 12:08 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


I would like a cake and pie hybrid.
posted by waving at 1:10 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


I'd like a cookie and time machine hybrid.
posted by runehog at 1:21 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


You do not want a Timecrowave.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:36 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


I wish someone could've sneaked Edward Lear's Nonsense Cookery

I want a cookbook of recipes machine-churned with text from Finnegans Wake and Ulysses. We can call it The Joyce of Cooking.
posted by oulipian at 2:49 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


"we decided to dive a little deeper into the trend and try to understand the science behind what makes cookies crunchy, cake spongy and bread fluffy — and we decided to do it with the help of machine learning."

Don't food scientists already know all of these things
posted by thebots at 2:58 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


Not AI. Words based on previous examples of words. Can I ask it why there are eggs in a recipe? No.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:14 PM on January 7


> I would like a cake and pie hybrid.

Yo.
posted by ardgedee at 3:49 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Can I ask it why there are eggs in a recipe?

Is it not sufficient to know that there are eggs? There are eggs in a recipe because their absence would cause a cake classification failure. Now how about an omelette, meatbag?

Speaking of eggs, isn't cheesecake already a cake and pie hybrid?
posted by sysinfo at 4:10 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Both of those are interesting.

The Cakie recipe with a little tweaking would look a lot like what my great grandmother would call a "tea cake" (her French Canadianised version of what she thought British people ate while drinking tea). It'd be dried fruit and/or nuts rather than chocolate chips though (chocolate was a pretty rare thing for them to eat). It'd be lard or shortening or maybe margarine instead of olive oil (that was rarer than chocolate). It might have a little more flour but not much more. And it'd be spiced with a warm spice or spices and/or pepper (white or black). I'll have to try that out.

The yeasted cookies, Breakie, are compelling to me especially because of the methodology (making the dough first then adding the sugar and butter mixture, not giving them any time to rise but depending on oven spring I guess to get some rise out of them). Like if you proofed the dough for an hour after incorporating the butter/sugar, punched it down, then divided and then proofed again you'd more or less get a sweet bun? It has the chemical leavener in there as well so probably crispier?
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:45 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Not to be, like, a total food snob here but isn't this what both America Home Test Kitchen and the Ratio method are all about? It seems like it's a cool algorithm use, sure, but it's not exactly outside the bounds of known baking science.
posted by Grim Fridge at 5:41 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Pie inside a cake is such a waste of the pie crust, though I guess if you’re starting with storebought pie it was probably a bad crust.

Maybe next time I have spare cake I’ll try putting some in the pie. It would be sort of like re-steaming a steamed pudding?
posted by clew at 5:43 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Not AI. Words based on previous examples of words. Can I ask it why there are eggs in a recipe? No.

Most human thought is just words based on previous examples of words. And most people wouldn't be able to tell you why there are eggs in a recipe except to say "I dunno, most cake recipes have egg in them and most bread recipes don't, so I guess it makes the food more like a cake and less like a bread?", which is exactly what this program does.
posted by jedicus at 6:15 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


The Breakie recipe says, "Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease it with cooking spray."

Is this a thing? Parchment paper and cooking spray? I thought it was one or the other.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 6:19 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Also for this to be a real internet recipe, the AI has to write a 2000-word personal essay that you have to scroll past to get to it.

“What an incredible journey! Its been more than 20 years since I woke up August 29th, 1997, but it feels like yesterday.”
posted by mhoye at 6:54 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


Sounds more edible but less interesting than Janelle Shane's AI-generated recipes: chocolate chicken chicken cake, completely meat circle, crockpot cold water, or my favourite - chocolate chips with chocolate chips.
posted by sonofsnark at 8:35 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Chocolate chips with chocolate chips is perfectly edible! As long as you don't follow the recipe, anyway.
posted by NMcCoy at 10:31 PM on January 7


A cake/pie hybrid is Boston cream pie.
posted by cman at 12:31 AM on January 8


The percentage graph at the bottom is really not the best graphic to convey the point of that graph...so much wasted space at right....
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:46 AM on January 8


I sure could go for some swedish lemon angels right now.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:53 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


The ai couldn't come up with any better names than cakie and breakie? no thanks.
posted by hydra77 at 12:44 PM on January 8


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