These rolls are made with oatmeal added to the flour, so they are robust and good for eating with soups and casseroles, with butter and honey, or simply toasted with butter.
These rolls are a traditional Scottish dish, and for true authenticity you should omit the brown sugar, as true Scottish bread is not sweetened in any way, but if you prefer a sweeter bread by all means leave it in.
Pour the boiling water over oats in a large bowl. Add brown sugar if using, salt and oil. Cool to 110°-115°, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; and let stand 5 minutes.
Add to oat mixture. Beat in enough flour to form a stiff dough (dough will be sticky, so if you have a stand mixer you will find this part easier)
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic – about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down so that it deflates. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide and shape into 8 or 16 balls. Place in a greased 13×9-in. baking pan. Cover with a kitchen towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F/160C fan/gas mark 4. Brush the top of the rolls with cold water to give a crusty top to the rolls if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned (if you haven’t used brown sugar, the rolls won’t brown very much). Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. If desired, served with butter and honey.
To tell if bread is cooked, carefully lift a roll up and tap gently on the bottom – if the bottom is firm and it has a hollow sound when tapped, it is done.