Bubbies, in my opinion, are the best pickles available in stores today; they are crunchy, they do not have any vinegar in them, they are a bit spicy and overall are delicious the way Russian or other Eastern European dill pickles should be. Apparently it is incredibly easy to make them at home especially now that the farmer’s markets are swamped with the beautiful little bumpy pickling (and eating fresh!) cucumbers.
What you need:
2 lb (1kg) pickling cucumbers – fresh and firm
5-7 grape or horseradish leaves (some use cherry or oak) – I got mine from a local winery; the leaves keep the pickles crunchy
1/2 bunch dill weed
3-4 flowering dill heads
1/2 head of garlic (about 8 cloves or so) smashed with a back of a knife
5 allspice berries
1 tsp yellow dry mustard
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp chili pepper flakes (use more or less depending on how you like your pickles)
1 bay leaf – crumbled
2 quarts (=2 litres) of cold water, I use bottled water to avoid any aftertaste from tap water (i.e. chlorine etc)
6 Tbsp salt
What you do: Put the leaves, spices and dill on the bottom of a clean non-reactive dish (I use a large bowl which is actually meant for the times I make yeast dough that needs a lot of room to rise), arrange the cucumbers on top as tightly as you can, they do not have to be in one layer two is just fine :) Dissolve the salt in the cold water and pour the solution over the cucmbers until they are covered, completely.
Place a large plate, fitting just right, into the bowl (or pot or crock) and put a weight on it (I use a gallon, 4 liter, bottle of water). Make sure the brine covers the plate – if it doesn’t add more!
Put the cucumbers in a cold dry place in your house, the colder the place the longer the fermentation process will take. A pantry, a garage, a basement are all fair game :) Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel to prevent dust or anything else falling into it. Check every day, if there is any mold forming on top, its perfectly fine, just remove it with a spoon. Start tasting in about one week, mine took 10 days to be just perfect but it may vary due to humidity and temperature. If you like half sour pickles you just start eating them earlier after 2-3 days they should be good to go :) To halt the fermentation process when the pickles reached their perfect state just transfer themwith the brine to a jar with a lid and into the fridge.