This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
From: "Arthur A. Simon, Jr." email@example.com
POLISH BRINE-CURED DILL PICKLES (ogorki kiszone/kwaszone)
(from POLISH HERITAGE COOKERY, by Robert & Maria Strybl)
"The classic Polish dill pickle, whose preparation goes back well over
1,000 years, is naturally cured, hence it is a far healthier
alternative than any of the pickles pickled with vinegar. It is
extremely versatile, since it produces several products in a single
container: the crunchy, several-day undercured pickles some people
like, tart and tangy fully-cured pickles, and very tart and soft
overcured pickles, which are good for eating and a required ingredient
in dill-pickle soup. The leftover dill-pickle juice is a vitamin and
mineral-rich beverage as is, or in combination with other ingredients
(see dill-pickle brine below) and can be used to give a delightful
tang to soups, sauces, and meat dishes. Above all, ogorki kiszone are
so delicious that they will quickly disappear from your counter-top
crock. They are also easy to prepare."
Wash and drain 4 lbs. roughly 4-inch, green pickling cucumbers. Cukes
larger than 6 inches are not used. If you have cucumbers of varying
size, put the large ones at bottom of jar, since they take longer to
cure. The best cucumbers to brine-cure are those picked the same day.
If yours are not, soak them in ice cold water 2-3 hrs. Wash, dry,
scald with boiling water, and dry again large glass jar or crock big
enough to accommodate the pickles. At bottom of container, place 3
stalks mature pickling dill (heads or seed clusters as well as stems).
Stand cucumbers in container upright. Add 3-5 cloves garlic, several
small pieces of horseradish root, and several fruit leaves (cherry,
black-currant or grape are best!).
Bring to boil 6 c. water and 3 T. pickling salt. When cooled slightly,
pour warm solution over cucumbers. Cover with inverted plate and
weight down so cucumbers are submerged. Cover with cheesecloth and
that's all there is to it.
They should be fully cured in 7-10 days. You may leave them on counter
until all are used up (and remove them with tongs, never with
fingers!), or transfer to fridge.
Optional: Other flavorings may include: 1 horseradish leaf, 1-2 green
oak leaves (this gives pickles a barrel-like taste), 1 bay leaf, a
pinch of mustard seeds or unground coriander, a small piece of chili
pepper, a slice of celeriac or parsley root. Do not use all these
flavorings in a single batch of pickles, but experiment on successive
batches to see which combination suits you best.
Personally, we feel the basic recipe is good just as it is.
Poster's comments: I have made these on a regular basis and the recipe
is almost foolproof. The only alteration I routinely make is to add a
slice of hard/Jewish rye bread w/caraway seed on the top of the
cucumbers. This serves to provide a starch base to hasten the
fermentation (you did understand that these are fermented(!) pickles,
I hope) and also to ensure a reliable yeast inoculum. Depending on
wild yeasts can sometimes result in a spoiled batch, especially in
warm climates. After 2-3 days, when the stuff really looks yucky-milky
(from the yeast in suspension), I put in the fridge to slow down
fermentation. Yeast will settle to bottom. Then I carefully drain,
reserving liquid, oak/grape leaves, etc. but flushing away old yeast.
You will discover the way that works best for you. I then replace
liquid, place back into fridge and allow the ferment to continue
slowly. Will keep for up to 3 weeks or more under those conditions. I
do this for two reasons: (1) I am somewhat allergic to yeast, and (2)
the rinsed product is esthetically more pleasing.
One final comment: Another exotic but delicious addition to the crock
is a single piece of fresh ginger root the size of a dime.