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I Made Pizza Dough Using an AI Recipe. Here’s What Happened.

There are thousands of pizza dough recipes and tutorials online. What would happen if an AI bot was asked to create one?

AI-generated pizza photo

A homemade pizza, as generated by AI.

I have a confession: My homemade pizza dough game is wildly inconsistent. It’s not for lack of practice. Despite living in Brooklyn, a stone’s throw from Lucali and blocks from some of the other best pizza spots in the country, I dabble in making pizzas from scratch, starting with the dough, frequently.

Admittedly, the basics of making pizza dough are easy. You activate the yeast in warm water, mix that with flour, add a bit of salt and olive oil, and then form a big dough ball either by using a mixer or kneading by hand; then, you divide the ball into portions. (There's proofing after each of these last two steps.) But that hasn’t stopped thousands of chefs, home cooks, and influencers from offering slight variations, like using a sourdough starter, creating a wet dough, employing a mix of flours, or showcasing advanced fermentation techniques.

Over the past few years, I’ve tried many different approaches. During the pandemic, working in a more spacious kitchen in my Covid hiding place in the woods, I studied pizza maestro Chris Bianco’s methods from his 2017 cookbook, Bianco: Pizza, Pasta, and Other Food I Like. That was a success — in large part because I made big batches of dough without making a complete mess of the kitchen — and I probably should have stuck with the recipe I used from the book, but my curiosity led me elsewhere. 

I watched YouTube tutorials; screenshotted variations I saw on Instagram and TikTok; and sourced recipes from my cookbook collection. My results, as I said at the outset, have been mixed. In one case, I tried an "easy pizza dough" method from a cookbook by a popular blogger turned author and it was disastrous. I tried the wet dough, high-hydration method, but ended up adding so much flour during the process to be able to handle the dough that I may as well have used a simpler method. I’m not a perfectionist nor do I harbor any illusions that I possess any hidden pizza-making talents. But in the end, most of my pizzas have turned out good but rarely great.

Over the past few months, I’ve monitored the progress of AI chatbots like ChatGPT when it comes to kitchen matters like making pizza dough. This past weekend, I finally entered a prompt — create a pizza dough recipe without a mixer — that delivered a simple, seemingly easy-to-follow pizza dough recipe that I wanted to try. (See below.)

To my surprise, the dough was the best I’ve created since my Bianco dough. It’s not fancy or especially flavorful, but it came together nicely, and I was able to make four personal pizzas for me and my family in a little over two hours. (I also used an AI-generated image for homemade pizza, above, just to close the loop). 

My only human enhancement to the AI recipe below is to suggest that instead of, or in addition to, using a rolling pin to roll out the dough, you should stretch it by hand as well, holding it from the top and gently rotating it to let gravity stretch the dough a bit. Sometimes when I do this, my homemade dough stretches too thin and forms a hole or two, which is hard to fix. To avoid this happening, do not take any short cuts while kneading. If you're making the dough by hand, this is the most time-consuming step but it's crucial to getting the gluten to bind and give the dough that satisfying elasticity.

The photos below show a few steps and a pepperoni pizza, the latter of which I enhanced with AI. Scroll down for the AI pizza dough recipe.

Dough ball
Freshly kneaded dough ball.
dough ball
The same dough ball after a 2-hour proof, ready for subdividing.
pepperoni pizza enhanced by AI
My pepperoni pizza, enhanced by AI. I used Applegate's pork and beef uncured pepperoni, which comes in large, about 3-inch diameter slices.
AI Pizza Dough Recipe

AI Pizza Dough Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Richard Martin with AI
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

2

hours 
Cooking time

8

minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons 2 1/4 (1 packet) active dry yeast

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 warm water (around 110°F or 45°C)

  • 4 cups 4 all-purpose flour (you can use a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour for variation)

  • 1 teaspoon 1 sugar

  • 2 teaspoons 2 salt

  • 2 tablespoons 2 olive oil

Directions

  • Activate the yeast: In a small bowl, mix the warm water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy. This indicates that the yeast is active.
  • Prepare the dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the activated yeast mixture and olive oil.
  • Mix the dough: Using a wooden spoon or your hands, gradually incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Knead the dough: Once the dough starts to come together, transfer it to a floured surface. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. You can use the heel of your hand to push the dough away from you, then fold it back over itself, and turn it a quarter turn before repeating.
  • Rest the dough: After kneading, shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1-2 hours, or until it doubles in size.
  • Punch down the dough: Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down to release the air bubbles that have formed.
  • Divide and shape the dough: Divide the dough into equal portions depending on how many pizzas you want to make. Shape each portion into a ball and let them rest for another 15-20 minutes, covered with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
  • Roll out the dough: After resting, you can roll out each dough ball into the desired thickness for your pizza crust. Use a rolling pin and work from the center outwards until you reach the desired size.
  • Now your pizza dough is ready to be topped with your favorite ingredients and baked in the oven* until golden and delicious!

Notes

  • *I rolled the pizzas thin to about 10 inches in diameter and cooked for about 8 minutes at 500°F on a metal pizza tray.

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