Toast peppercorns in a hot pan briefly until they get very fragrant. Add vinegar, salt, sugar, peppers and bay leaf. If you prefer your pickles less intense add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water.
Bring brine to a boil and pour over the cucumbers in the jar. Allow to cool before covering and placing in refrigerator overnight.
Pickles will be at their peak the next day, but very tasty after a couple of hours.
This brine works wonderfully with other fresh vegetables such as carrots, corn, green beans, zucchini, okra, cauliflower and many more. Fresh herbs or citrus zest can add flavor, experiment with your favorites.
Pickles can last up to two months if refrigerated.