This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
From: Kurt Rieder
A good deli pickle (Kosher dill to some) is made without vinegar. The
pro- cess is a lactic acid producing fermentation. You need a crock or
wide mouth container, a board or plate, and a weight...like maybe a
Scrub the cukes and put them in the crock. For a 5 gal crock layer the
following among the cukes: 3 1/3 oz sugar, 3/4 lb fresh dill, 3/4 oz
allspice, 3/8 oz mustard seed, 3/8 oz black pepper corns, 1/8 oz bay
leaf, 1 head garlic...broken into cloves. Put the board on top and the
rock on top of the board. Fill the crock with 8% cool salt brine. An
8% brine will contain 3/4 lb salt per gallon brine. Store at 60 - 70
deg F. That's cooler than ambient this time of year in most places.
Consider the basement or some other cool place. Every few days use a
paper towel or cloth to clean any scum from the surface. Sample a
pickle when you have the urge... after a few days. At first they will
be half sours. A bit longer, 2-3 weeks, and they will become full
sours. Both are often sold in the deli. After they are done, lower the
temperature if you can but don't allow to freeze. Most pickles, even
sweet gherkins, that you buy in the store are made this way. They keep
the brine and recover lac- tic acid from it. The brined cukes are
bottled and covered with cheaper vinegar... and sugar, if sweet ones
are wanted. This is why a deli pickle has it over all others.