Its been several years since I've posted on this forum but hope to get involved more in the future now that I've changed jobs!
Anyway, before buying Frederic Lalos' book, I mulled over buying it for almost 1 year. There is very limited writeup on this book and surely others would be going through the same decision making issues. In addition, we'll never know when this book'll be out of print.
The reasons for my reluctance to purchase it is that here in Asia, this book + shipping from Europe would cost more than US$120. Do I really need to spend that kind of money when Hamelman, Dan Leader and Reinhart and other books would cover it?
Thanks to my new job, I decided to buy it and it was the best decision I ever made.
Firstly, this book touches on lots of basic knowledge covered in other books in terms of kneading, flour types, etc. Bear in mind that the recipes in this book use French flours, which are not as strong as American flours. Asian bakers may rejoice because our flours are quite similar in strength. Here in Bangkok, and in Singapore where I come from, we can get flours from Waitrose and other Italian as well as German flours.
The most important aspect of this book for a professional baker or a serious home baker is that there are recipes dedicated to direct proofing, delayed overnight bulk fermentation method and a deferred overnight proofing method. All in the same recipe. This gives you timings and recipe options to better plan your baking.
In addition, he gives the exact starting temperature and recommended end of mix temperature to ensure that the bread grows at the suggested pace. I have not come across any other bread book that is so detailed in this aspect.
There are a lot of interesting French breads in here, but if you are looking for something really uniquely European, Dan Leader's book 'Local Breads' may be more your thing. However, if you are looking to get a first hand insight into how a professional baker executes his recipes, Frederic Lalos' book is exhaustive in this aspect.
This link gives a more thorough review for this wonderful book. I as well give links to where to buy this book, with no commercial benefit of my own.
I hope this review will help in your purchase making decision because it was something I wish I had after hours of fruitless web research.