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|Died||4 March 1888(aged 80)|
|Occupation||Baker, entrepreneur, soldier|
|Known for||Influence in French baking|
Soldier and baker
The son of Christophe Boniface Zang, a Vienna surgeon, August Zang became an artillery officer before he went to Paris, probably in 1837, to found a bakery, Boulangerie Viennoise, which opened in 1838 or 1839. The bakery was quickly imitated, and its Austrian kipfel became the French croissant. Baking historians, who often qualify Zang as "Baron", "Count" or "Royal Chamberlain" though he did not hold those titles, sometimes claim he introduced the baguette, but that is not supported by any period source. However, he introduced the Viennese steam oven, which became standard in France.
Journalist and publisher
In 1848, when censorship was lifted in Austria, he returned to Vienna and founded Die Presse, a daily newspaper that still exists today though after several interruptions. The paper was modelled on Émile de Girardin's La Presse and introduced many of the same popularising journalistic techniques, including a low price supported by volume and advertising; serials; and short, easily-understood paragraphs. In 1864, a dispute led two key journalists to leave Die Presse to found Die Neue Freie Presse. The original Die Presse was soon known as Die Alte Presse, and Zang sold it in 1867.
In his remaining years, he owned a bank and a mine in Styria, the site of which is still known as Zangtal ("Zang Valley").
When he died, he was most known as a wealthy press magnate. His obituary in Die Presse said only that he had spent some years in Paris and omitted all mention of his role in baking.
His ornate tomb in Vienna is still a tourist attraction.
- Vienna bread
- Viennoiserie, a French term referring to baked goods in the style of or influenced by Viennese baking
- The 1839 date and most of what follows regarding Zang's role in baking are documented in Jim Chevallier, "August Zang and the French Croissant: How Viennoiserie Came to France", p. 3–30. For the 1838 date, see Giles MacDonogh "Reflections on the Third Meditation of La Physiologie du goût and Slow Food". Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (p. 8); an Austrian PowerPoint – Ess-Stile – gives the date of 1840 (slide 46). The bakery itself later claimed that it had been founded that year, but earlier references have been documented.
- Wurzbach, C. (1891). Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, enthaltend die Lebensskizzen der denkwürdigen Perosnen, welche seit 1750 in den österreichischen Kronländern geboren wurden oder darin gelebt und gewirkt haben, (162-165)
- Article in "Die Presse" on its founding
- Another article in "Die Presse" on its founding
- Central Cemetery Zentralfriedhof-image of Zang's tomb
- Voitsberg page mentioning Zang's castle and Zangtal
- August Zang and the French Croissant