The potato needs to be measured precisely, so either go by weight or ensure you have exactly 1 1/4 cups of small-cubed potato.
Steam the diced potato in a steamer or steamer basket for 30 minutes, or until fall-apart tender. (Do not steam in the microwave, because it will dry out the potato out rather than infusing it with moisture.) Add the steamed potato to a food processor and process for 1 minute, or until puréed, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
In a small bowl, gently whisk together the warm water, maple syrup, and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until a foam develops on the surface.
Meanwhile, lightly grease a large glass mixing bowl with olive oil.
Add the yeast mixture, plus the spelt flour, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, thyme, and 3/4 teaspoon of the sea salt to the potato purée in the food processor. Pulse five 5 times, and then process for 15 seconds, or until the dough begins to roll into a loosely formed ball. The dough should be soft, sticky, and slightly shaggy, and pulled together in a soft ball on the side of the food processor. If it's too loose or too wet, add more spelt flour, 1/4 cup at a time, and pulse until the desired texture is reached. Alternatively, if it’ is too dry or dense, add more warm water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and pulse until the desired texture is reached.
Pull the dough from the food processor and turn out onto a clean work surface that has been generously dusted with spelt flour. Knead for 1 1/2 to 2–2 1/2 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and springy, adding more spelt flour as needed (I usually add about another 1/4 cup). You’ll know the dough is ready when it begins to hold its shape and springs back, slightly but not completely, when pressed. The gluten in spelt is delicate, so be careful not to over-knead or you’ll end up with dry, crumbly rolls.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or doubled in size. (Simple test for readiness: poke a finger tip about 1 inch into the dough. If the dough retains the indentation, it's good to go.)
When the dough has just a few minutes left to rise, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a clean, generously floured work surface. Divide into 3 equal pieces, knead for just a few seconds, and roll each piece out into a rectangle that's approximately 5 inches wide by 10 inches long.
Slice each rectangle widthwise into 2-inch-thick strips (you want about 5 strips per rectangle). One at a time, roll each piece into a rope, dusting any sticky bits with flour, and gently tie it in a knot, tucking in any loose ends. Place on the lined pan and repeat. Lightly brush the tops of the knots with olive oil and loosely cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Let the knots rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden on top. They should feel firm to the touch and have a hollow sound when gently tapped. Transfer the pan to an oven-safe cooling rack and cool for five minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil (i.e., 1/4 cup), plus the garlic, parsley, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon sea salt in a small sauté pan over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the garlic mellows and softens. Set aside.
Quickly prepare the pine nut parmesan. Add the pine nuts, nutritional yeast flakes, and a pinch of sea salt to a small food processor and pulse several times, or until ground into a texture that resembles coarsely grated parmesan cheese. Do not over-process, or you'll end up with pine nut butter.
Brush the tops of the baked knots with the garlic-parsley oil and sprinkle with the pine nut parmesan.
The knots are best served warm from the oven.