I remember at some point last year after the pandemic had started, I called three different grocery stores to check if they had yeast in stock. Of course, I had no luck at any location because our country had entered a baking extravaganza; ovens were fired up non-stop across the country to bake sourdough, banana bread, and chocolate chip cookies. Due to this baking frenzy that overtook our country in 2020, the Google Cloud team analyzed the ingredients and specific ratios used in favorite baked goods like cookies, bread, and cakes through the use of a machine learning program. The goal was to essentially determine what defined something as a cookie, cake, bread, and how each of these categories differ from each other. As a result, the team also used its AI to produced two new hybrid baked goods called a “Cakie” and a “Breakie”.
The team collected hundreds of different recipes for bread, cookies, and cakes to create a dataset and then used Google Cloud’s AutoML Tables tool to build a machine learning model. The model analyzed the amounts of key ingredients such as yeast, butter, eggs, and sugar, in the different recipes and was able to determine if the recipe was for bread, cake, or cookies. Bread recipes were accurately labeled about 90 percent of the time, but sometimes the model mislabeled cookie recipes for cake recipes.
Using this model, the team used ingredients and measurements that the algorithm determined were key for cookie, bread, and cake recipes to create two new hybrid recipes. The “Breakie” is half cookie and half bread, which turned out to be a fluffy, airy cookie with a texture similar to that of a muffin. The “Cakie” maintained a cake shape and sponginess but has a buttery flavor and crispy outside like a cookie.
Google Cloud’s project is just one neat example of how machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) can be applied in food technology. Spoonshot recently launched a free version of its AI flavor-pairing tool that offers the user both novel and unique pairings for different ingredients. Brightseed created an AI platform called Forager, which detects hidden phytonutrients in different plants. Even companies like Starbucks, Sweetgreen, KFC, and McDonald’s use AI to some degree in order to streamline day to day operations.
As we still find ourselves in the pandemic early 2021, you may be looking for some new recipes to bake. You’re in luck; the Google Cloud team provided the two recipes created through the use of AI, the “Cakie” and the “Breakie”.